Nanocomposites: Stiffer by design

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A two-solvent processing approach that uses nanoscale fillers for the performance enhancement of polymer-based nanocomposites, is discussed. The two-solvent processing technique disperses nanoparticles of Laponite within the crystalline hard domain, and the soft domains remain unaffected. The thermodynamic mixing property of the fillers with the components of the polymer phase is used to place the nanofiller at a selective regions of the phase-separated blends. The two solvents are selected to form a co-suspension of polymers and nanofillers. The evaporation of second solvent immobilizes the inorganic fillers within the hard domain due to strong hydrogen-bonding interactions. The similar size of the hard domain of the fillers enables the ultra-high magnitude of the stiffness improvements of the nanocomposites. The results of the two-solvent processing approach show that the larger nanofillers provide greater stiffness enhancements to the polymer nanocomposites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-11
Number of pages3
JournalNature Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 10 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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