Nanoscience and nanotechnology involve studying and working with matter on an ultra-small scale. Generally nanotechnology deals with structures of the size 100 nanometers or smaller. Nanotechnology has the potential to create many new materials and devices with wide-ranging applications. The research group of nanotechnology in the Department of Materials mainly focuses on synthesis, characterization and applications of nanomaterials from bottom-up, top-down and functional approaches. Currently, the research on the following aspects is being carried out.
1. Processing and characterisation of polymer nanocomposites and high temperature polymer nanocomposites
Work is underway on preparation and characterisation polyolefin, poly(vinyl chloride), polyurethane, biopolymers, nylon, phenolic and cyanate resin nanocomposites.
2. Nanostructured ceramics
Work is underway on the processing of genuinely nanostructured ceramics and ceramic-based composites. Work to date has resulted in the ability to produce high solids content but low viscosity nano-suspensions (patent published). Successful densification has been achieved using hybrid (microwave / conventional) two stage sintering yielding densities >99.5% of theoretical whilst retaining a mean grain size of <100 nm. The work is now being extended to other ceramic systems, including barium titanate, alumina and combinations of alumina with zirconia.
3. Polymer nanocomposites for light weight armour
Work is underway on investigation of the performance of PU and UHMWPE nanocomposites at high strain rates for development light weight armour for armed vehicles and personnel protection.
4. Nanostructured material coatings
Work is underway on development of high performance of PU-based nanocomposite coatings with incorporation of functionalised graphene and organoclay.
5. Fabrication of functionalised graphene in large scale
Graphene has been reported to be the strongest materials ever tested in the world. However, its scaling up is a big challenge. Work is underway on development of new methods for scaling-up of functionalised graphene
6. Graphene-based nanostructured films for energy storage
Work is underway on fabrication of graphene-based nanostructured films with high energy and powder densities, and short charge-discharge period.
- Clay/Polymer nanocomposites prepared using dual surfactants
- Nanostructured coatings
- Polymer nanocomposites
- Nanostructured advanced ceramic components
- Dr Xujin Bao
- Professor Jon Binner
- Professor Mo Song
- Dr Bala Vaidhyanathan