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Nanostructured Toughened Hybrid Nanocomposites for High Performance Applications (NANOTOUGH)
Start date: Oct 1, 2008, End date: Sep 30, 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Motivation: Nanocomposites are emerging new materials that promise improved properties. Their applicability, however, is presently limited by the cost of manufacture and product reproducibility. Literature shows that on the bench scale, dramatic improvement in polyolefin mechanical properties can be obtained by intercalation and exfoliation of nanoparticles in the matrix. However, when materials produced using conventional equipment are tested, their performance does not meet expectations nor live up to the claims (eg. the impact strength too low). Project Goals: To remove technical barriers to producing high performance polymer nanocomposites on the industrial scale, fundamental insight into the dispersion of particles within the matrix is needed. The goal of this project is to gain this insight through a series of carefully designed studies, using the most advanced experimental techniques, theoretical modeling, carried out by very experienced and skilled partners working together in a targeted and interdisciplinary fashion. The basic objective is to obtain a deeper understanding of the interfacial structure of nanocomposites within a polyolefin matrix. This knowledge will enable realization of the great performance potential of these materials through development of novel multiphase and hybrid nanocomposites. This knowledge will facilitate commercialization of polymer nanocomposite materials with superior properties that will lead to development of new products. To meet this objective, we aim to improve the stiffness of polyolefin nanocomposites while not only maintaining but also improving the toughness of the matrix considerably. The technological objective is to optimize and, through novel interface design, to develop new cost efficient hybrid (nanofiller–fiber) nanocomposites as an alternative to heavily filled polymers and expensive engineering polymers and fulfil industry requirements for high performance materials in high tech applications.
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