Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Polymers “battered” with nanoparticles could create self healing paints and clever packaging

Research chemists at the University of Warwick have devised an elegant process which simply and cheaply covers small particles of polymer with a layer of silica-based nanoparticles.

The final result provides a highly versatile material that can be used to create a range of high performance materials such as: self healing paints, and clever packaging that can be tailored to let precise levels of water, air or both pass in a particular direction.

The research, led by Dr Stefan Bon of University of Warwick's Department of Chemistry, has created a “soap free emulsion polymerization process” which makes colloid particles of polymer dispersed in water and in one simple step introduces nanometre sized silica based particles to the mix. These silica based nanoparticles (about 25 nanometre in size) then coats the polymer colloids with a layer “battering” it almost like a fish can be battered in bread crumbs.

This process creates a very versatile polymer latex product. It can be used to create scratch resistant paints in which the scratches heal themselves. It can be fine tuned to produce polymer based packaging which will allow water or air to pass through the packaging in tailored ways. The resultant rough textured spherical shapes also lend themselves to the creation of sheets with polymer that present much more surface area than usual allowing more efficient interaction with other materials.

The versatility of this process did not stop there. By exposing the material to a second simple step which deposited another polymer layer on top of the already silica based nanoparticles “battered” polymers the researchers were able to produce particles with an even greater range of properties and uses. The image shows such a multi-layered polymer colloid and was taken with a transmission electron microscope.

Industrialists will be interested not just in the versatility of the end product but the ease and cost effectiveness of the process. The Warwick research team has worked on a number of other processes that coated polymers in forms of protection but they all required a number of steps to produce the end result. This new process cuts dramatically the time needed to create such materials and its single step can already be produced on a mass scale with currently used industrial equipment. The amount of material that one can harvest from the process will also impress industrialists as the Warwick team showed that the useful product can easily be made up to around 45% of the volume of each water-based solution used in their process. This compares with figures of as of little as 1 to 10 % for comparable multi-step processes that make these complex particles.

The research paper by Patrick J. Colver, Catheline A. L. Colard, and Stefan A. F. Bon at the University of Warwick is entitled Multilayered Nanocomposite Polymer Colloids Using Emulsion Polymerization Stabilized by Solid Particles in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Peter Dunn | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>