399283 Investigating the Interphase Regions Between Inorganic Nanomaterials and Thermosetting Polymer Backbones

Sunday, November 16, 2014
Galleria Exhibit Hall (Hilton Atlanta)
Michael J. Bortner, Department of Chemical Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA

The interfaces between a polymer and a metallic or ceramic nanoparticle in a polymer nanocomposite are generally not well understood.  Polymer nanocomposites are typically approached on a case-by-case basis using chemistry based functionalization techniques on the particle surface to promote coupling to a tailored bulk polymer matrix phase.  A great deal of difficulty lies in practically characterizing the resulting interphase region between the nanomaterial and bulk matrix, which has been demonstrated to play a significant role in the ultimate nanocomposite transient and/or dynamic mechanical response.  During nanocomposite synthesis/fabrication, the interactions between the metallic/ceramic and polymeric phases are governed by a number of factors including mass transport from localized concentration gradients and/or differences in surface energy, and the kinetics of the reaction in a thermosetting type system. Practically, issues such as particulate flocculation and agglomeration, along with nanomaterial distribution within the composite, substantially influences bulk structure property relationships.  The goal of this research is multifold and includes 1) development of novel characterization approaches to successfully probe the morphological evolution and final state of interphase regions in polymer nanocomposites and 2) fundamentally understanding the correlation between transport, kinetics, and thermodynamics that impacts the formation of the interphase region between polymer and nanoparticle.  Ultimately, the goal is to develop predictive control of nanocomposite response as a function of nanomaterial integration approach for broad ranges of materials, particularly with respect to bulk composite dynamic or recoverable transient mechanical response.

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