Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Nanomaterial Makes Plastic Stiffer, Lighter And Stronger

Date:
August 15, 2008
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Scientists have developed a nanomaterial that makes plastic stiffer, lighter and stronger and could result in more fuel-efficient airplanes and cars as well as more durable medical and sports equipment.

Lawrence Drzal peers through a model of a carbon molecule.
Credit: Photo by G.L. Kohuth

A Michigan State University researcher and his students have developed a nanomaterial that makes plastic stiffer, lighter and stronger and could result in more fuel-efficient airplanes and cars as well as more durable medical and sports equipment.

The material – xGnP Exfoliated Graphite NanoPlatelets – will be instrumental in the development of new and expanded applications in the aerospace, automotive and packaging industries, said Lawrence Drzal, University Distinguished Professor of chemical engineering and materials science at MSU and director of MSU’s Composite Materials and Structure Center.

Drzal led the research group that developed the product, which is considered to be a practical, inexpensive material that has a unique set of physical, chemical and morphological attributes. The nanoscale material, which is electrically and thermally conductive, has reduced flammability and barrier properties, he said.

The graphene nanoparticles are being manufactured by a new startup company, XG Sciences Inc., located in mid-Michigan and a spinoff from intellectual property owned by MSU. XG Sciences has an exclusive license to manufacture this material.

“XGnP can either be used as an additive to plastics or by itself it can make a transformational change in the performance of many advanced electronic and energy devices,” Drzal said. “It can do so because it’s a nanoparticle with a unique shape made from environmentally benign carbon, and it can be made at a very reasonable cost.”

The key to the new material’s capabilities is a fast and inexpensive process for separating layers of graphite (graphene) into stacks less than 10 nanometers in thickness but with lateral dimensions anywhere from 500 nm to tens of microns, coupled with the ability to tailor the particle surface chemistry to make it compatible with water, resin or plastic systems.

xGnP

  • Could be used to make lighter, more fuel-efficient aircraft and car parts, and stronger wind turbines, medical implants and sports equipment.
  • Is a good electrical conductor attractive for lithium ion batteries and could be used to make transparent conductive coatings for solar cells and displays.
  • Can make gasoline tanks lightweight and leak tight and plastic containers that keep food fresh for weeks.

Drzal and his partners (former students Hiroyuki Fukushima, Inhwan Do and XG Sciences CEO Mike Knox) are already looking ahead to more uses for the product – like recyclable, economical or lightweight units to store hydrogen for the next generation of fuel cell-powered autos.

“Now that we know how to make this material and how to modify it so that it can be utilized in plastics,” he said, “our attention is being directed to high-end applications where we can really make some substantial changes in the way electronics, fuel cells, batteries and solar cells perform as a result of using this material.

“As an engineer we do research with an eye on not only understanding the fundamentals of how things work, but also on coming up with solutions to solve important problems facing the world we live in,” Drzal said.

“This project goes beyond doing research and publishing papers. It appears to have made the transition from a laboratory curiosity to a commercial product and simultaneously has helped create a spinoff company to increase the economic viability of Michigan.”


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "New Nanomaterial Makes Plastic Stiffer, Lighter And Stronger." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080731140141.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2008, August 15). New Nanomaterial Makes Plastic Stiffer, Lighter And Stronger. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080731140141.htm
Michigan State University. "New Nanomaterial Makes Plastic Stiffer, Lighter And Stronger." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080731140141.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Reuters - US Online Video (July 29, 2014) Passengers stuck overnight on a whale watching boat return safely to Boston. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

AP (July 29, 2014) The U.S. nuclear industry started building its first new plants using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and prevent the cost overruns that crippled the sector decades ago. So far, it's not working. (July 29) Video provided by AP
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