Nano Composite Material
If someone does a lot of arm curls at the gym, the typical result is that the bones and muscles in their arms will get stronger. Recently, researchers at Houston’s Rice University inadvertently created a nano composite material that behaves in the same way. Although the material doesn’t respond to static stress, repeated mechanical stress will cause it to become stiffer.
Nano composite materials are heterogeneous/hybrid materials produced at the nanometric scale by combining polymers with inorganic solids (clays to oxides). Their architectures have been discovered to be more complex than micro composites. Individual property arrangement, composition, interfacial relations, and materials have a big impact on them. Nano composite materials are most commonly made by the in situ growth and polymerization of biopolymer and inorganic matrix.
Recent Discovery in Nano Composite Material
The discovery was made in the lab of Pulickel Ajayan, Rice University professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, and of chemistry. Graduate student Brent Carey had created a nano composite material by infiltrating a batch of vertically aligned, multi-walled nanotubes with Polydimethylsiloxane, which is an inert, rubbery polymer.
He was testing the high-cycle fatigue properties of the composite, and was surprised to discover that instead of weakening when subjected to repeated loads, it actually got stronger. Over the course of a week, the nano composite material was subjected to 3.5 million compressions. This caused its stiffness to increase by 12 percent, with indications that there was potential for further stiffening. The reason for this type of reaction is still something of a mystery.
“We were able to rule out further cross-linking in the polymer as an explanation,” said Carey. “The data shows that there’s very little chemical interaction, if any, between the polymer and the nanotubes, and it seems that this fluid interface is evolving during stressing.”
What is known is that the use of nano composite materials greatly increases the surface area available to that fluid interface, so whatever reaction is taking place is much more pronounced than would be the case with a conventional composite.
Carey is already envisioning potential uses for nano composite materials utilizing the process. “We can envision this response being attractive for developing artificial cartilage that can respond to the forces being applied to it but remains pliable in areas that are not being stressed,” he stated.
Conclusions and outlook
NC gels with organic/inorganic network architectures were created with exceptional optical, mechanical, and thermal properties, as well as a number of new features. Each special organic/inorganic network arrangement is responsible for all of the properties and new characteristics. NC gels, which are promising soft polymeric materials that can be used in a variety of fields including medical, biochemical, analytical, and mobile devices, address the most serious drawbacks of traditional hydrogels.
The fabrication of three types of NC gels is discussed in this study, with inorganic nanofillers such as silica, metal/metal oxide, CNT, Laponite, and graphene serving as inorganic nanofillers. Compatibility and dispersion of nanofillers in the polymer matrix determine mechanical properties to a large extent. However, there has been limited progress in producing NC gels with good compatibility, especially when using a high concentration of nanofillers.
There has been a lot of experimental work done and try to figure out why and how NC gels can be rendered mechanically tough, homogeneously compatible, or optically transparent.However, there has been limited progress in producing NC gels with good compatibility, especially when using a high concentration of nanofillers. There has been a lot of experimental work done and try to figure out why and how NC gels can be rendered mechanically tough, homogeneously compatible, or optically transparent.
However, there is no theory available for making property forecasts prior to experiments. Multifaceted properties within a single substance are another obstacle that will be faced. The development of ionic NC hydrogels or tunable smart NC gels is currently being studied in depth. The promise of these hydrogels has yet to be fully realised, and there are many possibilities and new insights to consider in the future.
A nanocomposite is a multiphase solid substance with one, two, or three dimensions less than 100nm, or a structure with nanoscale repeat distance between the various phases that make up the material. The field of nanocomposite organic/inorganic materials as a whole is rapidly expanding. Innovative synthetic methods are being used to gain control of nanoscale structures, which is attracting a lot of attention. The properties of nano-composite materials are determined by their composition and interfacial characteristics, as well as the properties of their individual ancestors.