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Polymer Nanocomposites via a One-Step Synthesis Method

Our inventors have created some unique polymer nanocomposites which can be formed in one step! Specifically, they have synthesized polyethylene matrices containing silica or titania particles, using supercritical CO2 and acetic acid as the condensation agent. This novel method provides the advantages of combining the nanocomposite synthesis and drying into one-step which is tunable and eliminates worker exposure to the nanoparticles.

Background:

Nanocomposites are generating significant interest for their potential in high performance applications in automotive, aerospace and biomaterials industries. They have potential in a wide range of industrial and household applications currently dominated by metal, glass, paper and wood. Nanocomposites are better solvent, fuel and gas barriers, and have heightened flame resistance, stiffness and other mechanical properties which make them very attractive to materials scientists and engineers.

The synthesis of polymer nanocomposites is challenging. It usually takes multiple steps to reach the target products. This increases the time required to produce the composite, the material and labor consumption, and may result in higher volumes of organic and/or inorganic wastes. Furthermore, the production and handling of the nanoparticles presents a new challenge - exposure of workers to potentially irritating nano-sized dust particles that may be inhaled.

Potential Advantages:

• One-step synthesis, saving time and money
• Tunable physical and chemical properties of composites
• Direct coupling of nanoparticles to the polymer matrix
• Reduction of inorganic and organic waste
• Reduced exposure to airborne nanoparticles

Potential Applications:

• Automotive, aerospace and biomaterials industries
• Industrial and household applications

Patent Status:

US patent 7,763,357 issued.

Patent Information:

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