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Polymer Nanocomposite-An Advance New Material for P&T Apps

Polymer Nanocomposite-An Advance New Material for P&T Apps

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Published by: technovarad9140 on Oct 15, 2010
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07/07/2014

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P
olymer nanocomposites are a unique new
class of materials with an ultrane dispersion
of nanomaterials in a polymeric matrix. They
have recently gained a great deal of attention becauseof the much superior properties in terms of increasedstrength and modulus, improved heat resistance,decreased gas permeability and ame retardance atvery low loadings of < 5-wt% of nanollers. With theseimproved set of properties, they show a lot of promisein developing a range of advanced plastic and textileproducts. The plastic applications can be in domainssuch as biomedical, electronics, energy, automotive,sports gear, packaging and also aircraft and aerospaceengineering. The textile applications include potentialareas such as- nanocomposite bers, nanobersand other nanomaterial incorporated bers andcoated textiles for applications in medical, defense,aerospace and other technical textile applicationssuch as ltration, protective clothing besides a rangeof smart and intelligent textiles. At Centre for Polymer Science and Engineering and Textile TechnologyDepartment, IIT Delhi, our research group is activelyinvolved in the research and development activitiesfocused in the area of polymer nanocomposites.
Development of Nanocomposites
Innovative composites and nanocomposites aresignicantly widening the range of applications of 
thermoplastics as well as thermosets in areas such
as packaging, automotive, bio-medical devices,
 A K Ghosh,
 
Centre for Polymer Science and Engineering 
 Expertse n Regy and Prcessng f Pymers, Reactve Prcessng, Pymer Bends and  Ays, Mxng and cmpundng, Pymer Reactn Engneerng, Nancmpstes, Cmputer  Aded Mdeng and Smuatn.
akghosh@polymers.iitd.ernet.in
Polymer Nanocomposite : An Advanced New Material forPlastic and Textile Applications
 A K GhoSh, MANGAlA JoShi 
electronics etc. The focus is to disperse nanollersin polymer matrix and study its effect on mechanicalproperties and rheological behaviour. Polymers likepolyolen, polyamides, polystyrene, ethylene-octenecopolymers have been studied with various nanollerslike nanoclay, nanotalc, carbon nanotubes and carbonnanobers.In an ongoing project, sponsored by DST, a
state of the art facility for processing of polymer 
nanocomposites by melt intercalation route hasbeen set up. It includes an advanced twin screwextruder with a modular design and integrated withspecially designed sensors such as dielectric anduorescence which can monitor online the dispersionof nanollers such as nanoclays in the polymer matrix. Since, achieving the nanolevel dispersion of 
nanomaterials is the most crucial step in achieving
the right morphology, structure and properties inany nanocomposite, this facility is very importantand a large number of projects are currently beingundertaken on various systems. The morphologyof the layered silicate based nanocomposite isvery complex and may include microparticles,tactoids, and individual layers. Many of the desirable
properties of these polymer nanocomposites are
related to the quality of the dispersion, includingpolymer intercalation into the clay galleries and/or exfoliation (delamination) into individual clay platelets.In intercalated nanocomposites, the insertion of apolymer matrix into the layered silicate structure occursin a crystallographically regular fashion, regardless of 
 Mangala Joshi,
 
 Department of Textile Technology
  Expertse n Nantecngy Appcatns n Textes, Pymer Nancmpste fbers and catngs, Nan-Bmateras, Bactve & Functna Textes, Envrnmenta FrendyTecnges fr Textes usng a bend f erba and nan materas.
mangala@textile.iitd.ernet.in
 
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the clay to polymer ratio. Intercalated nanocompositesare normally interlayered by a few molecular layers of polymer. Conceptually occulated nanocompositesare same as intercalated nanocomposites. However,silicate layers are some times occulated due tohydroxylated edge–edge interaction of the silicateTransmission electron microscopy (TEM) provides a qualitative local structural characterization(Figs. 2 and 3). As a result, an extensive imaging is required to ensure a representative view of the whole
material.
 Fgure 1: Mrpgy devepment n pymer nancmpstes.
layers. In an exfoliated nanocomposite, the individualclay layers are separated in a continuous polymer matrix by an average distance that depends on theclay loading. Usually, the clay content of an exfoliated
nanocomposite is much lower than that of an
intercalated nanocomposite (Fig.1).
 Fgure 2: TEM mcrgraps f PP/cay nancmpstes deveped at dfferent tme f mxng (a) 4mn (b) 8 mn (c) 12 mn Fgure 3: TEM mcrgraps f PP/cay nancmpstes deveped wt dfferent Vaues f MFi (a) 2 (b) 11 (c) 35
 
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A range of new applications have been developedfor polymer nanocomposites including non-halogenpolymeric materials for aerospace industry to lmsfor packaging applications. Biodegradable polyolenshave been developed which degrade when exposedto microbial, enzymatic or other biological action intoCO
2
, water and simpler compounds or by the enzymaticaction of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, andalgae. Processing of clay based nanocomposites of biodegradable polymers like polyhydroxylalkanoates(PHA), polyester such as polycaprolactone (PCL),poly (lactic acid) (PLA) and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)has also been studied.
Nanocomposite Fibers
Polymers nanocomposites offer tremendouspotential when produced in ber form and offer properties that leapfrog those of currently knowncommodity synthetic bres. We have investigatednanocomposite bers based on all the three major types of nanollers viz layered silicate nanoclays(MMT), carbon nanotubes (CNT) and nanobers, andhybrid nanostructured materials such as POSS.Compatibilized polypropylene (PP)/nanoclaycomposite laments were produced by meltintercalation route. PP nanocomposite bers showeda signicant improvement in tensile properties (70%increase in tensile modulus and 40% increase in tensilestrength), an order increase in dynamic mechanicalproperties and much improved creep resistance over neat PP laments. The nanocomposite lamentscould be dyed with disperse dyes unlike the neat PPlaments which are very difcult to dye.Another signicant development is polyurethane(PU) nanocomposite bers produced using solutionintercalation technique. The developed bers havenot only improved strength and modulus but alsohave better dyeability, weatherability and antitackproperties. This has been achieved through rightselection of organomodied inorganic nanoller andright processing technique to achieve uniform andhomogeneous dispersion of clay in PU matrix.Another development is high performance bersbased on a novel class of hybrid nanostructuredller, Polyhedral Oligomeric Silsesquioxane (POSS).Incorporation of POSS at very low content < 0.5%modies the thermal degradation behaviour of HDPEand also acts as a lubricating agent thus facilitating itsdrawing. The HDPE-POSS nanocomposite lamentsexhibit better UV resistance than neat HDPE laments,which may be attributed to the scattering/reectiveaction of POSS.Bioactive nanocomposite bers based onantimicrobial nanomaterials are under developmentunder a sponsored project from USA MultinationalM/s. Lockheed Martin Corporation.
Nanocomposite Coatings
Novel Polyurethane/ MMT (clay) basednanocomposites as coatings for inatables has beenexplored in an ongoing sponsored research projectfrom Defense R&D organization i.e. ADRDE Agra.The coated fabrics showed improved gas barrier property without affecting the transparency and tear 
strength.
(a) (Mag. X 50,000) (b) (Mag. X 4,235)
 Fgure 4. SEM mcrgraps (a) Ctsan nanpartces(b) Nanpartce cated cttn
Another interesting work is where nanoparticlessuch as nanosilica and nanoclay (kaolin) have beencoated on the cotton textile substrate to impartsuperhydrophobicity and self-cleaning properties.Self-assembled nanocoatings on textile using layer-by-layer (l-b-l) technique is under investigation, wherebyvarious charged nanoparticles are being coated oncotton substrate along with a suitable polyelectrolyteusing l-b-l technique to impart functionality likeantimicrobial property (Fig. 4(a) & 4(b)).

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