SBIR Phase I: Nanomaterials Reinforced Light-Weight Structural Composites

Period of Performance: 01/01/2009 - 12/31/2009

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Nanomaterial Innovation Ltd.
1109 Millcreek Lane
Columbus, OH 43220
Principal Investigator

Abstract

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project is to design, synthesize, manufacture, and test high-performance polymeric composite structures based on commercially proven resins, long fibers and nano-sized functional particles. Long fibers can provide good mechanical properties for the composites, while affordable nanoparticles such as nanoclays, graphene, carbon nanofibers and carbon nanotubes may improve barrier properties and strengthen the matrix between long fibers. To succeed in producing these new composites, two issues need to be addressed: how to disperse nanoparticles in the presence of long fibers and whether or not resin processability can be maintained and enhanced in the presence of nanoparticles. Our approach is to develop novel surface coatings of those nanoparticles, which can assist the dispersion and enhance the surface oleophilicity of the particles; consequently minimizing the flow resistance resulting from the nanoparticles. Furthermore, novel surface coatings can also increase the reaction rate and final conversion for both epoxy and vinylester resins cured at low temperature. This is highly valuable for manufacturing large composite structures using vacuum assisted resin transfer molding process. It is anticipated that successfully incorporating these modified nanoparticles in structural composites will address multiple demanding applications in energy, transportation, construction and security industries. The expected outcome expect is to significantly grow