Polymer and Polymer Nanocomposites


Polymers are being increasingly used in advanced structural applications due to their low cost, ease of processibility and ability to tailor their properties by combination of a polymer matrix with fibrous or particulate inclusions to create composites. At the same time, the time, temperature and environmental dependence of polymers makes understanding their long term properties and behavior challenging. Tests developed for metallic structures to assess durability are not valid for polymers and their composites. In our work, we have examined the durability of polymers and composites by focused studies of thermal aging, time-temperature behavior and associated modeling strategies.

Multiscale Simulations
Indentation mechanics for polymers
Aging of Polymers and Composites
Impedance Response of Polymers
Multi-Scale Hybrid Composites

Polymer Nanocomposites

Nanoparticles, including nanospheroidal particles, nanoplatelets, and nanotubes, have received intense attention and research in the past decade. The addition of nanoparticles into polymer matrix materials has been observed to dramatically change the mechanical, thermal, electrical and diffusion properties of the host polymers, promising a novel class of polymer matrix composite materials with superior properties and added functionalities. These new materials are ideal candidates in many applications, including aerospace, automobile manufacturing, medical devices, and sporting goods. Our research has focused on the synthesis and characterization of low volume fraction nanoparticle reinforced polymers, and the development of multiscale modeling techniques to understand their unique properties and facilitate material design. The centerpiece of our research on nanocomposites is to understand, and ultimately design, the interphase formed in the vicinity of nanoparticles inside polymer nanocomposites. Our research explores the formation mechanisms of this interphase region and its influence on the overall performance of the composites, aiming towards development of appropriate synthesis methods to control the interphase and tailor the properties of polymer nanocomposites.

Interphase and Free Surface
Synthesis and Characterization of Nanoreinforced Polymers
Nanocomposite Modeling
Percolation Effects
Fracture and Toughness
Bioinspired Nanocomposites
Quantifying Dispersion

Advanced Materials Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, Northwestern University
2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60201 | Phone: (847) 491-7470 | Fax: (847) 491-3915
Mechanical Engineering Home | McCormick Home | Northwestern Home | Northwestern Calendar
Legal and Policy Statements