NanoOnSpect Project Develops New Nanocomposite Characterization Technologies
The use of functional nanoparticles in polymers is one of the most promising applications of new materials. A small nanoparticle amount in the composites allows to provide them with new functionalities, such as fire resistance, electric conductivity and optical, mechanical or barrier properties.
NanoOnSpect project, funded by the European Union within the Seventh Framework Programme and in which Aimplas, the Plastics Technology Cener located in Valencia, Spain, participates, develops an innovative control process in nanocomposites manufacturing with production adjustments by means of different sensors that control several properties as a consequence of nanoparticle dispersion. Depending on the dispersion, final size and particle distribution a nanoparticle network may be formed. It will allow the material to have properties, as for instance, electric conductivity or higher fire resistance.
The manufacturing control technologies have been created in the frame of the project in order to obtain a new generation of high-quality thermoplastic composites throughout their procurement. The online characterization allows acting in real time on the process and optimizing the material properties without the necessity of conventional in parallel characterizations. Up to now, the method used had been the “trial-error”, which not only consumes time and resources, but also increases the waste generated due to quality rejects and costs as a consequence of the high price of the nanoparticles used in their manufacturing.
The sensors development based on different technologies, such as ultrasounds, infrareds, different spectrophotometric, electrical and thermal techniques, etc. allows the adjustment of the composite properties in industrial conditions thanks to their integration in a unique unit called "onBOX". The developments are not just limited to the nanotechnology field, they can be integrated in the procurement of other type of composites. This automatic circle in nanocomposite manufacturing enables to get the desired properties and to know the limits in the nanoparticle/polymer combination.
AIMPLAS Instituto Tecnológico del Plástico
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