Polymer nanocomposites (PNCs) are generally defined as a combination of a polymer matrix and a filler that has at least one dimension in the nanometer range. The filler can be one-dimensional, such as nanotubes and fibres; two-dimensional, such as layered silicate minerals (like clay) and three-dimensional, such as spherical nanoparticles.
Over the past two decade, PNCs technology has attracted great interest in both academia and industry, due to their outstanding mechanical, as well as thermal properties which incorporate a very small amount (2-5 wt. %) of fillers. The main reason for these improved properties in PNCs is the strong interfacial interactions between the matrix and the filler surface, as opposed to those found in conventional composites. Other interesting properties of PNCs include barrier resistance, flame retardency, scratch/wear resistance, as well as optical, magnetic and electrical properties.
The research group focuses mainly on:
- Structure-property relationship in clay containing polymer nanocomposites.
- High performance biodegradable nanocomposite materials.
- Fabrication of biocompatible nanocomposites for orthopeadic applications.
- Fabrication and characterisation of proton-exchange fuel cell membrances.
- Optimisation of dispersion of carbon nanotubes in polymer matrices.
- Conducting and speciality polymer-based nano-structured materials for energy applications.
- Purification and functionalisation of carbon nanotubes.
- Synthesis and characterisation of various types of nano-structured materials with targeted applications.
Dr Suprakas Sinha Ray
Tel.: +27 12 841 2388
Fax: +27 12 841 2135