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1D-Patterned Nanocomposites Structured Using Oscillating Magnetic Fields



Polymer nanocomposites are sought-after materials due to their low density and multi-functionality, but their bulk application of polymer nanocomposites (PNCs) is currently limited because scalable methods to manufacture PNCs with organized nanofiller structures, which is critical to enable advance properties, are missing. In this work, non-contact assembly of nanofillers within polymer matrices is investigated as a scalable, energy-efficient method to tailor nanofiller organization within PNCs using external, oscillating magnetic fields (~100s of G for ~10s of min). Last year, experimental and theoretical studies were presented about one-dimensional (1D) magnetic assembly behaviors of iron oxide nanofillers in DI water and also in a aerograde thermoset polymer. This year, experimental work was continued about 1D alignment of iron oxide nanofillers using nanofiller surface treatment for improved dispersion and suspension in a thermoset. In addition, electrical and thermal conductivities of these PNCs are being measured and will be correlated with their various nanofiller structures. The effect of controlled nanofiller interfaces, enabled uniquely with magnetic assembly, on the PNCs’ transport properties will be evaluated. If the nanofiller structuring capability is obtained, PNCs can provide tailorable multifunctional properties that are essential for aerospace, automotive engineering, medical devices, consumer products and sporting equipment applications. Near-future work of this project include 2D and 3D organization of nanofillers using a newly installed tri-axis Helmholtz coil set-up to provide elastomer PNCs for anisotropic transport, actuation, and sensing applications. This work is supported on the BAA (#N000141612172) and DURIP (#N000141712023) funds from the ONR Sea- Based Aviation Airframe Structures and Materials Program.


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