Keegan Rankin
Hometown: Hampton, NB

Developing a Direct Method to analyze the Degradation of Side-Chain Fluorinated Polymers
  • PhD 2009-Present
  • MSc Chemistry - 2009 (University of Guelph)
  • BSc Honours Chemistry - 2007 (University of Guelph)

Fluorotelomer-based acrylate polymers (FTAcPs) are a class of side-chain fluorinated polymers that are used extensively as oil and water repellents in textile, upholstery and carpet industries. The estimated annual production of FTAcPs exceeds 10 million kilograms, and generates an annual market share of roughly $1.7 billion. Although FTAcPs have found widespread usage in the fluorinated industry, their environmental fate remains uncertain. It has been suggested that the ester linkage bonding the fluorotelomer appendage to the polymer backbone may be susceptible to hydrolysis. This is of concern as this would produce a polyfluorinated intermediate followed by the subsequent reactions yielding perfluorocarboxylates (PFCAs).

Presently, the sole method to investigate this potential pathway has been to monitor the concentration of PFCAs and FTOHs as an indirect determination of polymer degradation. However, recent research in our laboratory has focused on developing a method for tracking the degradation of FTAcPs directly using Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-of-Flight (MALDI-ToF) mass spectrometry.

The aim of my research is to utilize MALDI-ToF and other analytical tools such as Total OragnoFluorine-Combustion Ion Chromatography (TOF-CIC) to correctly assess the environmental fate of FTAcPs.

Away from the lab, I enjoy running, golfing, biking and anything that involves being outdoors.