Particle design for the synthesis of tailored polymer nano-composites

Conference Dates

May 10-15, 2015


The use of submicron-particles to enhance properties of polymeric materials is a widely used practice in many industries, such as, plastics, coatings, adhesives, elastomers, thermosetting composites, etc. From a general frame of reference, the rheological, mechanical, thermal, optical, and electrical performance of particle-polymer composites is governed by two main physical parameters, namely: the state of particle dispersion in the polymer matrix, and the particle-matrix interfacial strength. In this work, the design of Cabot’s submicron-particles along the axes of primary particle size, fractal dimension, and surface chemistry is described in terms of a simple model for particle-polymer and particle-particle interactions based on surface energy measurements. This model allows predictive mapping of particle-polymer systems in phase diagrams that anticipate the state of particle dispersion and interfacial strength for a large range of particle-polymer systems. Several examples are given on the use of this approach in the design of “self-dispersible” or “self-assembling” particles to tailor the rheological, mechanical, thermal, optical, or electrical performance of particle-polymer nano-composites used in coatings, engineering plastics, elastomers, and structural adhesive applications. The design and use of a micro-fluidic device to validate model predictions is also discussed.


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