Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry

Topic details

Topic Advanced nanocomposites for smart material applications
Supervisor Adam Strachota, Ph.D.
Department Nanostructured Polymers and Composites
Description Planned is the synthesis of advanced nanocomposites and nano-structured copolymers, which are expected to display high promise as novel smart materials.

Two product groups will be synthesized and characterized:

1) Smart elastomers, especially hydrogels, gels with non-aqueous solvents, as well as of solvent free elastomers. As fillers inorganic particles, nano-platelets, as well as interpenetrating organic phases will be employed, with the aim of supporting fast and extensive stimuli responsivity, and/or self-healing properties. For the latter purpose, also the incorporation of physically or chemically reversible crosslinks by metal cations will be tested. Potential smart applications of such materials are in the field of actuators or drug-release matrices.

2) Rigid polymer nanocomposites, especially such filled with 1D or 2D inorganic nanofillers like phosphates and silicates will be also prepared and the orientation ability of filler and/or matrix will be tested. Epoxies, selected vinyl polymers (also acrylics), polypropylene oxide derivatives and polysiloxane will be tested as matrices (including liquid crystalline ones). The orientation of the most promising nanocomposite systems (either diamagnetic or paramagnetic) will be carried out with the help of strong magnetic fields. The aim is to obtain nanocomposites with highly anisotropic material properties, which could be employed e.g. in multi-layer-based actuators, or which would display modified electrical or magnetic properties.

Besides synthesis, rheological properties during nanocomposite formation (gelation behaviour) as well as the thermo-mechanical properties of the final products (DMTA) will be characterized. Further extensive analyses of the products will be carried out by cooperating with other departments of our Institute: especially morphology (TEM, WAXS, SAXS), chemical structure (NMR) and polarization microscopy.

A considerable advantage is, that the topics of Thesis are supported by a recently (2019) awarded research grant, namely GAČR, nr. 19-04925S (Czech Science foundation) , in which the supervisor is a key member, and which assures the possibility of a considerable financial support.