Universiteit Katholieke Leuven 

       Soft Matter, Rheology and Technology (SMaRT)

       Postdoctoral researcher (2008-2010)

       Supervisors: Prof. Paula Moldenaers  /  Prof. Jan Vermant

Title of the work developed: "Nanoparticles dispersion and foams". 




Title of the work developed: "Nanoparticles dispersion and foams". 

Lading polymers is an important method to produce tailored materials. More specifically, adding inorganic nanomaterials to polymers enhances their mechanical properties, apart from other properties like permeability, conductivity, flammability, etc. Those laden materials are known as nanocomposites. Typically, nanomaterials used as nano-fillers, considering their geometry, can be sorted into three classes: particle (i.e. carbon black, silica nanoparticle, etc.), layered (i.e. organosilicate), and fibrous materials (i.e. nanofibers and carbon nanotubes). Apart from their geometries and their respective surface area-to-volume rations, the properties of a nanocomposite are greatly influenced by the degree of filler dispersion and distribution achieved during mixing operations. Depending on the method of preparation, significant differences in composite properties may be obtained. Without proper dispersion, the nanomaterial will not offer improved properties over that of conventional composites, in fact, a poorly dispersed nanomaterial may result in degraded properties, while the very well dispersed system would exhibit the best properties. Therefore, a key challenge in designing nano-particle-based materials is the quality of the dispersion in the incorporation of nanoparticles. A fully dispersed and stable state would lead to achieve the desired properties, while as particle agglomerates an inferior material performance will be obtained.

Monitoring the quality of dispersion within a composite system is not a trivial task. Rheology has been also considered as a complementary indirect technique to monitor the quality of dispersion, due to both linear and nonlinear rheological properties are very sensitive to changes in the particulate microstructure. However, so far, rheology has mainly been used in qualitative terms for the different kind of nanocomposites.  In this job a step further have been accomplished.

Last update - 19/10/2014