Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

By Adding Graphene, Researchers Create Superior Polymer

Date:
May 19, 2008
Source:
Northwestern University
Summary:
Researchers have created a new kind of polymer that, because of its extraordinary thermal and mechanical properties, could be used in everything from airplanes to solar cells. The polymer, a nanocomposite that incorporates functionalized, exfoliated graphene sheets, even conducts electricity, and researchers hope to use that property to eventually create thermally stable, optically transparent conducting polymers.

Researchers at Northwestern University and Princeton University have created a new kind of polymer that, because of its extraordinary thermal and mechanical properties, could be used in everything from airplanes to solar cells.

The polymer, a nanocomposite that incorporates functionalized, exfoliated graphene sheets, even conducts electricity, and researchers hope to use that property to eventually create thermally stable, optically transparent conducting polymers.

Researcher at the McCormick School of Engineering originally teamed up with researchers at Princeton several years ago. McCormick researchers had experience working with polymer nanocomposites, and Princeton researchers had developed a way to exfoliate, or split apart, graphite sheets into very thin single layer, surface-functionalized graphene sheets.

Previous use of graphite in polymers did not garner significantly improved properties since researchers could never get the graphite exfoliated. That meant the graphite was rigid with a low surface area and could only minimally impact properties of the polymer.

But when researchers put even a small amount the newly exfoliated graphene sheets — enough to equal only .05 percent of the material — into the polymer, they found the graphene changed the polymer’s thermal stability temperature by 30 degrees. Even adding graphene sheets equal to .01 percent of the material increased stiffness by 33 percent — far beyond what researchers had predicted. The drastic changes in both the thermal stability and the stiffness after adding just a tiny percentage of functionalized graphene indicated that the graphene changes large regions of the polymer radiating out from the nanoparticle surfaces in a percolating network structure.

The new polymer nanocomposite based on graphene also exhibited the same or superior thermal and mechanical properties as using functionalized single-wall nanotubes in polymer — but was much easier and cheaper to create.

“This is the first time people have been able to demonstrate dramatically altered properties like this with really small quantities of graphite-based materials,” says Cate Brinson, Jerome B. Cohen Professor of Mechanical Engineering and corresponding author of the paper.

The graphene sheets also will inherently be able to block moisture and gases from penetrating the material as well as change the thermal stability temperature and improve mechanical properties, making the durable polymer a candidate for use in everything from aircrafts to sports equipment to solar cells

“I think it has enormous potential,” Brinson says. “With the ready availability of graphite and the properties we have demonstrated, this new material will enable significant structural scale use of carbon-based nanocomposites.”

Next researchers are studying the polymer’s electroconductivity, quantifying and optimizing the results with the goal of creating optically transparent conducting polymers that are thermomechanically stable.

In addition to Brinson, other authors of the paper include paper include T. Ramanathan (Northwestern) A. A. Abdala (formerly Princeton, now The Petroleum Institute), S. Stankovich (Northwestern), D. A. Dikin (Northwestern), M. Herrera-Alonso (Princeton), R. D. Piner (formerly Northwestern, now the University of Texas at Austin), D. H. Adamson (Princeton), H. C. Schniepp (Princeton), X. Chen (Northwestern), R. S. Ruoff (Formerly Northwestern, now the University of Texas at Austin), S. T. Nguyen (Northwestern), I. A. Aksay (Princeton), and R. K. Prud'Homme (Princeton).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northwestern University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Functionalized graphene sheets for polymer nanocomposites. Nature Nanotechnology. 11 May 2008. doi:10.1038/nnano.2008.96 [link]

Cite This Page:

Northwestern University. "By Adding Graphene, Researchers Create Superior Polymer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080519105049.htm>.
Northwestern University. (2008, May 19). By Adding Graphene, Researchers Create Superior Polymer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080519105049.htm
Northwestern University. "By Adding Graphene, Researchers Create Superior Polymer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080519105049.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) The urban 4x4 is the latest must-have for Chinese drivers, whose conversion to the cult of the SUV is the talking point of this year's Beijing auto show. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) The light-field photography engineers at Lytro unveiled their next innovation: a professional DSLR-like camera called "Illum." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3 Reasons Why Harley Davidson Is Selling Tons of Epic Hogs

3 Reasons Why Harley Davidson Is Selling Tons of Epic Hogs

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) Sales of motorcycles have continued to ride back from the depths of hell known as the Great Recession. Excluding scooters, sales of motorcycles increased 3% in 2013. In units, however, at 465,000 sold last year, the total remained about 50% below the peak hit in 2007. Industry leader Harley Davidson’s shareholders have benefited both by the industry recovery and positive headlines emanating from the company. Belus Capital Advisors CEO Brian Sozzi takes you beyond the headlines of the motorcycle maker. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins