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Nanocomposites Group

Nanocomposites Research

Our nanocomposites capability encompasses both fundamental and applied research to manufacture innovative materials, devices and components with unique properties and tailored functionality. The breadth of industry applications includes telecommunications, electronics, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, automotive, security and medicine.

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About our research

Grand challenges for nanocomposites...

Our nanocomposites capability encompasses both fundamental and applied research to manufacture innovative materials, devices and components with unique properties and functionality.

We're addressing several grand challenges related to nanocomposites:

  • To understand the parameters which control the dispersion and distribution of nanoparticles in polymers
  • To characterise fully the role of the interface between matrix and nanoparticle in governing nanocomposite properties
  • To explore novel combinations of ceramic nanoparticles with polymers for enhanced electromagnetic properties
  • To link nanocomposite’s length and time scales into a unified multiscale theoretical framework for predicting their multifunctional properties

What are nanocomposites?

Nanocomposites are formed when a functional material having at least 1 dimension on the nanoscale (<100nm) is dispersed in a matrix, such as a polymer, metal or ceramic. Examples of functional materials include carbon nanotubes, graphene, nano-cellulose, inorganic nanowires, ceramics, layered silicates, layered double hydroxides, and other inorganic nanoparticles. The many unique and extraordinary properties (e.g. electrical conductivity, high current carrying density, thermal conductivity, strength, stiffness, magnetic, optical) of such functional materials can be translated to the matrix material to form a composite material having multifunctional properties including, for example, stimuli-responsive and electromagnetic induction shielding in combination with lightweight.

Focus areas

This is a summary of the key research capability areas within Nanocomposites.

Polymer chemistry and nanocomposites engineering for energy applications

Synthesis and modification of polymers and nanoparticles, Design and processing of polymer nanocomposites with enhanced thermal/electrical/electrochemical properties

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Composite Materials for Hydrogen Economy

We develop both predictive and experimental capabilities to improve gas barrier performance of polymer composites in hydrogen and other harsh gaseous environments. Our predictive capability revolves around Scientific Machine Learning that combines mechanistic and data-driven modelling of hydrogen permeation processes in composite materials across their scales, from nano right up to the macroscopic level. Our experimental facility consists of hydrogen permeation equipment for testing polymer composites across a wide range of temperatures and pressures. Our industrial partners include Baker Hughes Ltd, Strohm, Tata Steel UK, National Composites Centre funded through the Henry Royce Institute, Innovate UK, or Strategic Catapult Programme in Hydrogen

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Nanocomposites - Recent Publications

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