Small amounts of nano-scaled fillers (< 100 nm) can fundamentally improve some of the properties of polymer materials (e.g. mechanical properties, barrier properties against gas and fluid diffusion, and flammability). At present, research activities are being carried out all over the world on the development and optimization of novel polymer composites using a variety of nano-fillers (e.g. layered silicates, spherical silica particles, carbon nanotubes, carbon nanofibres). It is exciting to note that in recent years, the driving force behind the polymer nanocomposite research has began to shift from fundamental scientific research to industrial application.
The introduction of nano-fillers into polymeric matrices can significantly influence both the morphology and processing conditions for good filler dispersion and distribution. Hence, the selection of suitable materials and appropriate processing procedures form the central issues to develop polymer nanocomposites with desired physical and mechanical properties.
At our department, we are currently working on the development of nanocomposites based on mineral nanofillers (layered silicates, halloysites, silicate particles) as well as carbon-based ones (CNTs, graphene, carbon black). A special highlight are the layered silicates of the second generation. These novel nanoadditives have synthetic origin and offer lateral extensions up to 6 µm and aspect ratios up to 600, leading to a simultaneously increase of stiffness and toughness of a material. Halloysites have similar chemical structure to layered silicates but have physical forms of nanotubes. These hollow tubes exist in nature, and due to their high aspect ratios are promising candidate to increase stiffness and strength of polymers. Carbon-based nanofillers such as carbon black (CB), carbon nanotubes (CNT), carbon nanofibers (CNF) and graphene (GNPs) are used to reinforce compact as well as foamed polymeric matrices for special properties such as electrical and thermal conductivity, static and dynamic mechanical properties, etc. At the moment, main research topics can be listed as: CB- and CNT-modified resin formulations for electrical conductivity applications, CNT- and CNF-modified prepregs for hybrid, high mechanical performance laminates and GNP-modified foams for high thermal insulation and electric conductivity.
Contact: M. Sc. Martin Demleitner
Phone: +49(0)921 55 74 76
Telefax: +49(0)921 55 74 73
Activities in Nanoscience