Date of Award

12-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Chemical Engineering

Major Professor

Zhanhu Guo

Committee Members

Brian J. Edwards, Kunlun Hong, Roberto Benson

Abstract

This ongoing project is aimed at studying the effects of the interface between nanofillers and polymers in physical mixtures fabricated by traditional and innovative methods to explore the potential properties of polymer nanocomposites (PNCs). Chapter 1 is an introduction. In Chapter 2, we used a solvent extraction method to synthesize homogenous PNCs with magnetic properties to investigate the advantages and disadvantages of the PNCs with well dispersed nanofillers. The thermogravimetic analyzer (TGA) and microscale combustion calorimeter (MCC) revealed an enhanced thermal stability and reduced flammability. The observed monotonically decreasing complex viscosity indicated a strong shear thinning behavior in the PNCs. Chapter 3 presents a discontinuous structure of gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) on the surface of a sub-micrometer sphere polymer with a layer of alternative polymer film. A surface interaction is exhibited between the polymer spheres and the Au NPs. The real permittivity of the PNCs is much higher than that of the pure polymer spheres, and an improved thermal stability is obtained in the PNCs. The PNCs also possess a lower bandgap than that of the pure polymer sphere. Chapter 4 describes a study of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) coated on the surface of gelated soft Polypropylene (PP) powders, which were easily pressed together and formed a network structure in the hosting materials, leading to outstanding electrical properties. Chapter 5 is an extension of Chapter 4 to further investigate CNTs/ethylene/1-octene copolymers (EOCs) PNCs system. Chapter 6 concerns that microwave radiation as an environment-friendly method to enhance electrical conductivity of carbon nanotube (CNT) polymer nanocomposites (PNCs) without utilizing a solvent. Conclusions and future work are provided in Chapter 7.

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