Automobile bumpers that deform and recover rather than crack and splinter, computer cases that withstand the occasional rough encounter, and resilient coatings that can withstand the ravages of the sun, may all be possible if tiny functionalized rubbery particles are imbedded in their plastic matrices, according to Penn State materials scientists.
"Plastics such as polypropylene, nylon, polycarbonate, epoxy resins and other compounds are brittle and fracture easily," says Dr. T.C. Chung, professor of materials science and engineering. "Usually, manufacturers take rubbery compounds and just mix them with the plastic, but there are many issues with this approach."
The problems include difficulty in controlling the mixing of the two components and adhesion between the plastic and rubber. Chung, and Dr. Usama F. Kandil, postdoctoral researcher in materials science and engineering, looked at another way to embed rubbery particles into a plastic matrix. They described their work today (Aug. 29) at the 230th American Chemical Society National Meeting in Washington, D.C.
A’ndrea Elyse Messer | EurekAlert!
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