Tiny molecules strung in long repeating chains, polymers in the natural world have been around since the beginning of time and today industrial polymers have a range of applications that far exceed that of any other class of material available including use as packaging materials, adhesives, coatings and electronic, biomedical and optical devices.
The new grants will enable the Polymer Cluster in The School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen’s and their partners, (The University of Oxford, The University of Bradford, Danone, Smith and Nephew, Innovia Films, JGP Perrite and Boran-Mopack), to further their work on an exciting new family of materials entitled nanocomposites, in which particles with nanoscale dimensions (a nanometer = 1 millionth of a millimetre), are dispersed in the polymer. Offering a dramatic improvement in material performance, with significant increases in mechanical and gas barrier properties, the use of nanocomposites can result in the client getting a more effective product. Improved performance also allows products to be manufactured with less material leading to reductions in raw material, processing energy and product transportation costs.
In addition to focussing on the processing route by which the nanoparticle-polymer mixture is formed into a final product and applying this knowledge to the development of proof of concept applications for industry and academia alike, Professor Eileen Harkin-Jones and her colleagues will also be using complex computer aided numerical modelling to predict the behaviour of materials under conditions that might otherwise be to difficult or costly to replicate, enabling manufacturers to exploit such materials to the full.
Explaining further about the eventual industrial applications for the outcomes of the research, Professor Eileen Harkin-Jones said: “Due to their properties and ease of processing into complex shapes, polymers are amongst the most important materials available to us today. The Polmers Industry currently contributes over £18 billion per annum to the UK economy and the arrival of nanocomposites in recent years has opened up a whole new window for product development.
“These substantial grants from the EPSRC will enable us to achieve a fundamental understanding of the influence of processing on the properties of the final product, and thus how to design and process nanocomposites more effectively. This in turn will offer us the possibility to significantly reduce the amount of polymer needed for a particular application and therefore help reduce the environmental burden due to plastics waste.”
Further information on work ongoing in the Polymers Cluster in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen’s can be found at www.me.qub.ac.uk
Lisa Mitchell | alfa
Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
06.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
06.12.2016 | Life Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering