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Polymer nanocomposite films with extremely high nanoparticle loading

Description:

Material synthesis through capillary rise infiltration

 

Inventor

Daeyeon Lee, Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

 

Problem

Polymer nanocomposite films (PNCFs) combine the electronic, mechanical, and optical properties of nanoparticles with the flexibility of polymers to yield nanostructured films.  PNCFs with extremely high nanoparticle concentrations are important components in energy storage and conversion devices, as well as in protective coatings.  However, these PNCFs are difficult to prepare because of the poor processability of polymer-nanoparticle mixtures with high concentrations of nanoparticles; this problem is exacerbated with anisotropic nanoparticles.

 

Solution

Using a technique based on capillary rise infiltration (CaRI) of polymer into a dense packing of nanoparticles, the Lee lab is able to obtain high packing densities.  A two-layer film, comprised of a polymer layer and a nanoparticle layer, is generated and annealed at a temperature that imparts mobility to the polymer.  The polymer infiltrates the interstices of the nanoparticle layer.  This approach has been demonstrated with monodisperse polystyrene and titanium dioxide nanoparticles.  Compared to films made from individual components, PNCFs generated from CaRI have superior mechanical properties, including hardness, modulus, scratch/wear resistance, and the ability to heal nanoparticle films with cracks that exist prior to annealing.

 

 

Caption: Infiltration of polystyrene into TiO2 nanoparticle film due to capillary action.

 

Advantages

•       Straightforward, scalable process to generate PNCFs

•       Uniform nanoparticle distribution

•       Extremely high filler concentrations

•       Synthesized material has superior mechanical properties

 

Applications

•       Generation of high filler fraction PNCFs with different sets of polymers and nanoparticles

•       Dye-sensitized solar cells

•       Batteries

•       Separations/membranes

•       Coatings

•       Display devices

 

 

Stage of Development

•       Proof-of-principle testing

 

Intellectual Property

PCT pending (WO 2015175543 A1)

 

Reference Media

Huang et al.  Nanoscale, 2015, 7, p. 798-805.

 

Desired partnerships

• License

Co-development

 

 

Download PDF

 

Docket #  14-7115


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Joshua Jeanson
Associate Director, SEAS/SAS Licensing Group
University of Pennsylvania
jeanson@upenn.edu
Inventors:
Daeyeon Lee
Keywords:
Engineering