How can nanomaterials be used in plastics

On the basis of general plastics and engineering plastics the strength, flame retardancy and toughness, impact resistance as well as antibacterial properties of plastics can be increased by filling or strengthening in addition to other methods.

How do Nano materials alter plastics?

1. Resistant to aging in reinforced plastics

The aging of polymer materials especially photooxidation-related aging begins on the outside of materials or products which include discoloration pulverization, cracking, glossiness reduction, and so on, and slowly moves to the inside. The anti-aging properties of polymers directly impact its lifespan as well as the environment, in particular for agricultural plastics and plastic construction materials, which is not solely a factor that requires careful attention, but is also an important aspect of polymer chemicals. The wavelength of UV in sunlight is 200~400nm, while the ultraviolet wavelength in the 280400nm spectrum can cause the molecular chain of polymer to break which causes the material to start to age. Nano-oxides like nano-alumina, nano-titanium oxide, nano-silica and many others, have great absorption properties for Infrared as well as microwave. The right mixing of nano SiO2 and TiO2 can absorb a large amount of ultraviolet rays to stop plastics from being damaged in sunlight. This helps to stop plastics from breaking, discoloration or signs of degradation caused by light. This makes the material anti-aging.

2. Improve the anti-mildew and antibacterial properties of plastics

Antibacterial plastics are typically made by adding antimicrobial or antibacterial masterbatch to the resin. Because plastic molding requires to be subjected to high temperatures as well, there are also inorganic antimicrobial compounds that can adapt to temperatures of high temperature. Traditional antibacterial metal powders , such like copper sulfate and Nitrate are difficult to use directly in thermoplastics. Nano-antibacterial inorganic powders are modified to create antibacterial polymer masterbatch. It is simple to use in plastic items and has good integration with plastic. It can aid in the dispersion of antimicrobial agents. Inorganic silver particles can be carried into nano titanium dioxide nano-silicon aluminum dioxide and other nano-materials made of inorganic materials, and this powder is characterized by antibacterial properties. It is combined with plastics, extruded and then cured by ultraviolet radiation for the formation of antibacterial polymers. Its antibacterial action is triggered through the gradual release of antimicrobial agents, in order to create the antibacterial effects.

3. Enhance the strength and toughness of plastics

If the second component when added onto the polymeric matrix, a composite is formed, and a stronger material is produced by compounding which improves the strength of the material and also increase the impact resistance of the substance. Nanomaterials have emerged as a new method and way to improve the toughening and reinforcement modifications of polymers. The defects on the surface of the tiny particle size dispersed phases are comparatively small and there are many non-paired atoms. The ratio of the surface nuclear number to the total number of nanoparticles increases dramatically as particles shrink in size. There is a crystal field-like environment, and bonding energy of surface particles are different from those of internal atoms, so they are extremely active chemically. By micronizing the crystal field as well as the rise of active surface particles, the surface energy increases dramatically, so it is able to be tightly integrated with the polymer substrate. It also has excellent compatibility. If subjected for external force that is applied to the ion, it becomes easily detached from the substrate and will better transfer the external pressure. Also, under the interaction of the stress field the material will develop more microcracks as well as plastic deformation in the substance, which could cause the substrate’s structure to shrink and use up lots of impact energy, so as to accomplish the goal of strengthening and toughening in the same way. The most commonly used nano-materials include nano alumina, nano silica nano-calcium carbonate, etc.

4. Enhance the thermal conductivity plastics

Plastics that are thermally conductive are a kind of plastic products with good thermal conductivity. These are generally higher than 1wper (m. km.). Plastics that are thermally conductive are more and more commonly used because of their light weight with a high thermal conductivity. They are also fast, simple injection molding, low cost of processing, and so forth. Due to its excellent in thermal insulation, and conductivity, nano-alumina is extensively used in thermal conductive plastics thermal conductive rubber, thermal construction age, thermally conducting coatings, and in other fields. Compared with metal filler, nano-alumina and nano-magnesia do not only improve the thermal conductivity, however, it also enhances the insulation effect, and the mechanical properties and properties of plastics might also be improved.

5. Improve processesability for plastics

Certain polymers, such as ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) with an average viscosity molecularweight of more than 150 minutes, possess outstanding overall properties, but they are difficult to be manufactured and processed due their high viscosity, which limits their usage and popularization. Benefiting from the low interlaminar friction factor of Silicate layer, the nano-rare Earth / ultra-high weight polyethylene composite was made by mixing UHMWPE with layered silicate, which effectively decreases the interspersion of UHMWPE molecular chain while reducing the viscosity. They play a key role in the process of lubrication, which greatly improves its processability.

6. The addition of nanomaterials makes plastics functional.

Metal nanoparticles possess heterogeneous nucleation which can lead to the formation of some crystal types that give toughness in the substances. When polypropylene contains the metal nanoparticles having a melting point of low It is discovered that it is able to play the function that of conductive channel. They also strengthen and toughening in polypropylene, with its melting points that are low. It also helps in the processability and strength of the composites.

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