Oscar Gonzalez

MIT Department: Chemistry

Undergraduate Institution: Texas A&M University, College Station

Faculty Mentor: Jeremiah Johnson

Website: LinkedIn

 

Biography

I am a junior Chemistry major at Texas A&M University from San Juan, Texas. I am interested in inorganic and physical chemistry research with a focus on materials and coatings. I plan to obtain a PhD in chemistry and become a professor with my own research team. When I am not studying or at the lab I enjoy reading, playing board games, and browsing Reddit.

2018 Research Abstract

Strengthening PDMS Elastomer Through Double-Network Design

 Oscar Gonzalez,1 Junpeng Wang,2 and Jeremiah A. Johnson3

1Department of Chemistry, Texas A&M University

2,3Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is the most widely used silicon-based organic polymer and its applications range from contact lenses to drug delivery systems, thanks to its non-toxicity, thermal stability, and ease of modification. However, unfilled PDMS suffers from poor mechanical strength. A common strategy used to increase the mechanical strength of PDMS is to add fillers, such as silica and carbon nanotubes, in the polysiloxane matrix. However, the filler normally causes the loss of transparency, preventing PDMS to be used in many situations. Molecular redesign of the network that enhances the mechanical strength but also preserves the transparency is therefore desirable. In this work, we investigate a PDMS double network (DN) elastomer that exhibits improved mechanical properties while preserving the transparency that is characteristic of PDMS.  The synthesis of the PDMS elastomer follows a procedure similar to the DN hydrogels that were rigorously investigated by Gong et al. Improving the mechanical properties of PDMS, while maintaining its transparency, opens new avenues for PDMS where it can be incorporated in various fields, i.e. aerospace, electric industries, and bioengineering.