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Explorations in the application of nanotechnology to improve the mechanical properties of composite materials

Authors Yang, Cheng
Issue Date 2007
Summary This thesis presents the research achievements on the design, preparation, characterization, and analysis of a series of composite materials. By studying the interface interaction of the composite materials using nanotechnology, we developed composite materials that achieve satisfactory mechanical properties in two classes of materials. Durable press (DP) natural textiles are important consumer products usually achieved by crosslinking the molecules in the textiles to achieve long-term wrinkle resistance, which, however, also leads to the simultaneous significant drop of mechanical properties. Herein, a series of polymeric nanoparticles were investigated, the application of as little as ~ 0.14 wt% addition of the nanoparticles improved the mechanical property of the DP cotton fabric by 56% in tearing resistance and 100% in abrasion resistance; the loss in recovery angle is negligible. The author also studied the enzyme-triggered DP treatments of silk fabrics, as a green process method. After the treatment of enzymes, excellent DP property was achieved with improved strain property. Injectable calcium phosphate powder containing acrylic bone cements are widely used in orthopedic surgery to fix artificial prostheses. However, the bending strength is still unsatisfactory. The author modified the surface of the strontium (Sr) containing hydroxyapatite (HA) filler powders with acrylolpamidronate in order to improve the overall mechanical performance of the bone cement composites.By adding 0.25 wt% of acrylolpamidronate to the Sr-HA nanopowders, more than 19% of the bending strength and more than 23% compression strength of the Sr-HA bone cement were improved. Biological evaluations revealed that these bone cement composites were biocompatible and bioactive in cell culture. The results obtained in this thesis work show an effective method to significantly enhance the mechanical properties of composite materials. Different from other available methods, by developing a new series of chemical compounds and nanoparticles, we successfully bound them to the surface or to the constitutional components of the materials through covalent bond. The treatment can enhance and modulate the interface-bonding of the filler materials and enhances the mechanical property of the surface through grafting a thin nano-layer. Since only surface reaction is involved, very small amount of the new material is needed, and the treatment can be readily integrated to the existing processes. The work is instructive in modifying available composite materials to acquire ultra-high mechanical performance.
Note Thesis (Ph.D.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2007
Language English
Format Thesis
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