Student: Alex Ashley

Project: Enhancing Minority Block Crystallization in Asymmetric PEO-b-PCL Copolymers

View: Research Poster (PDF)

Institution: Lafayette College

Major: Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Advisor: Ryan Van Horn


Crystalline-crystalline diblock copolymers have unique hierarchical crystallization assemblies based on the interplay of phase separation and crystal nucleation and growth. Poly(ethylene oxide)-b-poly(ε-caprolactone) provides a unique opportunity to study a system where the transition temperatures of the two blocks are similar. For sequential crystallization, isothermal crystallization of the majority block (Ti) was analyzed to determine its effect on the percent crystallinity (χ) and the crystallization temperature of the minority block (Tx). From DSC analysis, it was discovered that the Tx increases with increasing Ti for a number of weight ratios. This phenomenon thereby demonstrated that the diluent effect seems to be the dominant factor compared to the confinement effect when the thicker majority block crystals are formed. Furthermore, it was found that there was a general increase in the minority block’s χ which further supports the idea that the diluent effect is the primary driver for the minority block’s crystallization behavior.

Alex Ashley

About Alex Ashley

Alex Ashley, a multidimensional Chemical and Biomolecular Engineer and Mathematics Double Major, has interests in materials in renewable energy. He currently serves as one of the Vice-Presidents of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Chapter at Lafayette College and works closely with Ryan Van Horn to further his expertise in Polymers Science. He aspires to pursue a doctoral degree in materials for storing the energy generated by solar panels and further the progress of the world to a more sustainable future. Alex is also passionate about teaching and guiding students to new understandings about the fields of chemistry and chemical engineering. Accordingly, Alex has an end goal of entering the field of academia and becoming a professor where he can indulge in his passion.