WMG's reputation and success have been built on working collaboratively with companies and organisations regionally, nationally and internationally, leading individual and multi-partner projects which help to create innovative products, processes and services. Developing partnerships enables us to understand the current and future challenges to inform blue-sky and applied research.
Examples of our Research
In-line Measurement of Structural Evolution during Melt Mixing of Polymers and Nanoparticles
Funder: part funded by the European Commission
Partners: University of Queensland, Australia; University of Rome, Tor Vergata, Italy; Institute of Physics; Czech Academy of Sciences
Translation of the unique properties of nanoparticles to polymer matrices are, in the first instance, governed by the extent of nanoparticle dispersion and distribution in the polymer melt before mixing. However, the relationship between processing parameters applied during melt mixing in an extruder and nanoparticle dispersion is poorly understood.
The project attempts to investigate the structural evolution of such nanocomposites in situ during mixing by coupling a range of spectroscopic (N-IR, Raman, Fluorescence) and other techniques via probes at different positions along the extruder barrel and in the die.
We shall also study the role of applying an external stimulus, such as an electrical and / or magnetic field, to the nanoparticle loaded melt during mixing in an extruder to align the nanoparticles.
Fundamentally, if a much deeper understanding of the parameters that govern the dispersion of nanoparticles in polymer melts could be attained, then composite materials having multi-functionality and tuneable properties could be engineered.
Manufacture of Graded Functional Ceramic Nanocomposites for Electromagnetic Applications
Dielectric ceramic nanocomposites are attractive for use in electromagnetic devices, e.g. lenses and clocks, due to their characteristic dimensions and strong effects on electromagnetic waves. For use in devices, flexible processing routes must be developed for the direct production of nanocomposite ceramic-based structures with graded electromagnetic properties. Materials of suitable compositions are produced by milling and freeze-drying then graded structures can be assembled by die pressing or 3D printing. Microstructural, mechanical and electromagnetic properties are measured and compared to known device requirements.