How can nanomaterials be used in plastics
On the basis of general chemical and engineering plastics the strength, flame retardancy, impact resistance, toughness, aging resistance and antibacterial properties of plastics are improved by filling, blending or strengthening in addition to other methods.
How can Nanomaterials modify plastics?
1. Aging resistance of reinforced plastics
The process of aging materials made of polymers particularly photooxidation aging starts from the surface of materials or products such as discoloration pulverization, cracking, glossiness decrease, and slowly moves within the internal. The anti-aging properties of polymers directly impact the service life and environment, especially for the plastics that are used for agricultural and construction materials, which is not simply an indicator that demands the most attention, but an important issue in polymer chemical science. The wavelength of the sun's ultraviolet is 200~400nm, while the ultraviolet spectrum in the 280400nm range can destroy the polymer molecular chain creating a material that is aging. Nano-oxides, like nano-alumina Nano-titanium dioxide, nano-silica and many others, have excellent absorption properties in the radiofrequency and the infrared. The proper mixing of nano SiO2 and TiO2 can absorb a considerable amount of ultraviolet radiation to ensure that plastics are not damaged from sunlight. They can also help in preventing plastic products from cracking, discoloration and other degrading effects caused by sunlight, making the materials anti-aging.
2. Enhance the anti-mildew and anti-bacterial properties of plastics
The preparation of antibacterial plastics is usually by adding antimicrobial or antibacterial masterbatch. This is then added into the resin. Because plastic molding is required to be subjected to high temperatures the inorganic antimicrobial compounds that can adapt to high temperature. Traditional antibacterial metal powders , such as copper sulfate and zinc nitrate are not easy to incorporate directly into thermoplastics. Inorganic nano-antibacterial powder is specially processed to produce antibacterial plastic masterbatch, which is easy to incorporate into plastic items and has good compatible with polymers. It's beneficial for the dispersal of antimicrobial substances. Inorganic silver ions can be integrated into nano-titanium dioxide, nano-silicon aluminum oxide and different inorganic nanomaterials. the resulting powder exhibits good antibacterial properties, in combination with plastics, extruded and formed by ultraviolet irradiation to create antibacterial plastics. its antibacterial effect is formed by the slow release of antimicrobials, to provide the antibacterial effects.
3. Improve the toughness and strength of plastics
When the second substance are added to the polymeric mat, it is formed into a composite and a more robust material is made by compounding which is used to improve the mechanical and impact durability of the material. Nanomaterials have emerged as a new method and way for strengthening and improvement of plastics. The surface defects of tiny particle size dispersed phases are very few, and there are a lot of unpaired particles. The ratio of the surface nuclear number to the total amount of nanoparticles grows dramatically with decreasing particle size. A crystal's crystal-field environment as well as bonding energy of surface particles are different from those of internal molecules, and therefore they have great chemical activity. With the micronization of crystal field and an increase of active surface particles, the surface energy is greatly enhanced, which means it is able to be tightly integrated with polymer substrates and have excellent compatibility. When subjected to external force, the ion is not as easy to remove from the substrate . It is also able to better transfer the external stress. Also that it is subject to the stress field it is likely to create microcracks , and plastic deformations within the substance, which could result in the substrate to swell and use up a significant amount of impact energy, so as to achieve the objective of toughening and strengthening simultaneously. The most popular nano-materials used are nano alumina, nano silica, nano-calcium carbonate.
4. Improve the thermal conductivity plastics
The thermal conductive plastics are a class of plastics with high thermal conductivity. They are typically higher than 1w/ (m. k). They are more and more popular because of their light weight quick thermal conductivity, easy injection moldings, low processing costs, and so on. Because of its excellent resistance to thermal and electrical conductivity, nano-alumina can be found in thermal conductive plastics, thermal conductive rubber, thermal construction age, thermally conductivity coatings, and many other fields. In comparison to metal filler, Nano-alumina or nanomagnesia is able to not only enhance the thermal conductivity, but also increase the insulation effect, as well as the mechanical properties of plastics can also be improved.
5. Enhance Plastics' processability
Certain polymers, for instance ultra-high molecularweight polyethylene (UHMWPE) having a typical viscosity molecular weight greater than 150 minutes, possess excellent capabilities, but they are not easily constructed and processed due their large viscosity. This restricts the use of and acceptance. Benefiting from the low interlaminar coefficient of friction in a thin layers of silicate, the nano-rare-earth / ultra high molecular weight polyethylene composite was made by mixing UHMWPE with layered silicate, which can effectively reduce the interlocking of the UHMWPE molecular chain and reduce the viscosity. Play a good role in the process of lubrication, which greatly improves the efficiency of its processing.
6. The addition of nanomaterials makes plastics more functional.
Metal nanoparticles are heterogeneous in their nucleation which can lead to the formation of crystal forms that give toughness to these materials. When polypropylene has small-sized metal nanoparticles that have a low melting point and it is discovered that it can play the role for conductive channel, strengthening and hardening in polypropylene as well as its lower melting point increases the processability of composites.
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