How can nanomaterials be used in plastics

On the basis of general engineering and plastics, the strength, fire retardancy durability, impact resistance, aging resistance and antibacterial properties of plastics are enhanced by filling, blending or strengthening in addition to other methods.

How can Nano materials alter plastics?

1. In the case of reinforced plastics, resistance to aging is a problem.

The process of aging for polymer material particularly photooxidation aging begins on the surface products or materials including discoloration cracking, pulverization, glossiness decrease, and gradually moves within the internal. The properties of polymers that prevent aging directly impact the service life and the environment in particular plastics used in agriculture and building substances. This isn’t simply an indicator that demands much attention, but is an important issue in polymer Chemistry. The wavelength of light is 200400nm. Similarly, the ultraviolet in 280~400nm band can disrupt the polymer molecular structure that causes the material to undergo aging. Nano-oxides such alumina, nano or nano-titanium oxide and many others, have good absorption properties for Infrared as well as microwave. The proper mixing of nano SiO2 and TiO2 is able to absorb a significant amount of ultraviolet rays to prevent plastics from being damaged by sunlight. They also assist to avoid plastics cracking, discoloration and other effects of light, making the materials anti-aging.

2. Enhance the characteristics of the antibacterial, anti-mildew, and anti-milde plastics

Antibacterial plastics typically are made by the addition of antimicrobial ingredients or masterbatch into the resin. Because plastic molding requires to go through high temperature it is necessary to have inorganic antimicrobial agents that are able to adapt to extreme temperatures. Metal powders that are traditionally used to combat bacteria such as copper sulfate , zinc Nitrate are difficult to combine into thermoplastics directly. The inorganic nano-antibacterial material is processed to produce antibacterial plastic masterbatch, which is easy to use in plastic products and has excellent interaction with plastics. It aids in the dispersal of antimicrobial agents. Inorganic silver particles can be integrated into nano-titanium dioxide nano-silicon aluminum oxide, as well as different inorganic nanomaterials. the resultant powder has antibacterial properties. It is in combination with plastics, extruded and shaped by ultraviolet radiation to form antibacterial plastics. Its antibacterial properties are created by the slow release of antimicrobial compounds, in order to produce the antibacterial effects.

3. Enhance the strength and toughness of plastics

When the second substance are added to the polymeric mat they form a composite, and a more complete material is made by compounding which is used to improve the mechanical and impact durability of the material. Nanomaterials’ development provides an alternative method for reinforcement and improvement of plastics. The defects on the surface of the small particle size dispersed phase are relatively few and there are many non-paired atoms. The ratio of the surface atomic number to the total atomic number of nanoparticles rises dramatically as particles decrease in size. A crystal’s crystal-field environment as well as interaction energy of surface atoms differ from the ones of internal atoms, which is why they exhibit a high chemical activity. By micronizing the crystal field as well as the rise of active surface atoms, the energy of the surface is significantly increased, which means it can be a close match with polymer substrate and has good compatibility. When exposed to external forces it is easy to detach from the substrate , and it is able to better transfer stress. But due to the interaction with the stress field it will create more microcracks and deformations in the material, which could result in the substrate to swell and consume more energy generated by impact, which is necessary to accomplish the goal of strengthening and toughening at the same time. The commonly used nano-materials are nano micro silica, nano alumina nano-calcium carbonate, and so on.

4. Enhance the thermal conductivity plastics

Thermally conductive plastics are sort of plastic product that has excellent thermal conductivity, which are generally higher than 1wper (m. K.). These plastics are more and more widely used because of their lightweight, fast thermal conductivity, easy injection molding, low cost of processing, and so forth. Due to its excellent in thermal insulation, and conductivity, the use of nano-alumina in thermal conductive plastics, thermal conductive rubber, construction age, thermally conductive coatings , as well as other fields. Contrary to metal fillers, nano-alumina / nano-magnesia can not only enhance the thermal conductivity but also increase the insulation effect, as well as the physical properties of plastics will be enhanced.

5. Improve The processability and performance of plastic

Certain polymers such as ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) with viscosity average molecularweight of more than 150 minutes, have excellent general properties, however, they are not easily manufactured and processed due their high viscosity. This limits the use of and acceptance. Profiting from the low interlaminar friction coefficients in layers of silicate, the nano-rare-earth / ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) composite was constructed by mixing UHMWPE with layered silicate, which will reduce the intanglement of UHMWPE molecular chain and decrease the viscosity. The composite plays an important role in lubrication, thus greatly improving the processability.

6. Nanomaterials make plastics practical.

Metal nanoparticles exhibit heterogeneous nucleation. This can result in the formation of crystal structures that add toughness and durability to materials. If polypropylene is filled the metal nanoparticles having a melting point of low are found to be present, they play the function of conductive channel. It can also aid in strengthening and toughening in polypropylene, while its low melting increases the processability of composites.

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