453440 Composite Materials: Mechanical and Tribological Property Improvement
Solar cell panels exposed to dessert sands, harsh weather conditions, and contact cleaning method are subjected to scratching force. This factor can lead to loss of structural integrity, tremendously affect the performance of the panel system and greatly lower the energy conversion efficiency. Development of abrasion resistant coatings on solar cell panels can be achieved in composite systems containing both hard polymer and nano scale fillers. Halloysite nanotubes (HNT) encompass high aspect ratio, stiffness and strength while remain understudied about their coating usage. By appropriate treatment, HNT possess high dispersion quality and enable efficient interfacial adhesion to polymer after mixing. Using HNT in hardcoat polymers is supposed to increase strength, modulus and improve mechanical robustness (i.e., effective HNT modulus was estimated to reach ~300 GPa plus a half scratch depth of polymer without HNT). The reinforcement efficiency of HNT is quantitatively expressed using NanoIndentation, which showed up to 60% increase in modulus and hardness for composites with vertically aligned HNT. Anti-abrasion properties are characterized using abrasion test and followed by comparing morphological changes in a sample without undergoing the abrasive test. Consistently the composite coatings with out-of-plane particle orientations showed highest wear resistance. Scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy have been used to verify the morphological and topographical merits after damage. This study aims at development of environmentally friendly and cost effective coating, which is highly potential to be commercialized.
As a polymer material scientist and teacher, I believe it is my responsibility to challenge and support my students, in pursuit of three learning goals: (1) confront misconceptions about material science ideas; (2) master advanced polymer engineering skills; (3) cultivate an interest in science and understanding of how we do science and develop engineering. I developed my teaching practice through the MIT Kaufman Teaching Certificate Program (KTCP), undergraduate mentoring and junior researcher training service, and as a teaching assistant in three courses (1) Introduction to Material Science and Engineering, (2) Mechanics of Composite Materials, and (3) Structure, Property, and Processing of Polymeric Materials. Therefore I am capable and also enthusiastic in teaching materials science, polymer engineering and composite mechanics related courses.
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