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How can nanomaterials be used in plastics

Based on the principles of general engineering and plastics, the strength, flame resistance as well as impact resistance, toughness age resistance and antibacterial properties of plastics can be improved by filling, blending the strength, and strengthening techniques, among others.

What can nanomaterials do to alter plastics?

1. Resistant to aging in reinforced plastics

The process of aging for polymer material, especially photooxidation aging, begins on the exterior of products or materials including discoloration cracking, pulverization reduction, and so on, before gradually advancing to the inside. The anti-aging properties of polymers directly affect its service life and environment, especially for the plastics that are used for agricultural and construction materials. It's not just an indicator that requires great attention, but also an important issue in polymer chemical science. The ultraviolet wavelength in sunlight is 200~400nm, while the ultraviolet spectrum of 280400nm can cut the polymer molecular chains, thus making the material aged. Nano-oxides (such as nano-alumina or nano-titanium oxide and the like, have good absorption properties when used radiofrequency and the infrared. When properly mixed, nano SiO2 and TiO2 can absorb a large amount of UV rays to protect plastics from being damaged through sunlight. It also helps to keep plastics from discoloration, cracking and photo-damage, making these materials age-resistant.

2. Improve the antibacterial and anti-mildew properties of plastics

The preparation of antibacterial plastics is usually by including antimicrobial compounds or masterbatch to the resin. Since plastic molding has to be subjected to high temperatures it is necessary to have inorganic antimicrobial agents that are able to adapt to the extreme temperature. Traditional antibacterial metal powders , such as zinc sulfate, copper, and nutrients are not easy to incorporate directly into thermoplastics. Inorganic nano-antibacterial powder is specially treated to obtain antibacterial plastic masterbatch that is easy to use in plastic items and has good interactions with other plastics. It's useful for the dispersion of antimicrobials. Inorganic silver particles can be integrated into nano-titanium dioxide nano-silicon oxide and various other inorganic nano-materials. the formed powder has good antibacterial properties. It's being mixed with plastics, extruded and formed by ultraviolet irradiation in order to make antibacterial plastics. Its antibacterial properties are created by the slow release of antimicrobial agents, to provide the antibacterial effect.

3. Enhance the strength and toughness of plastics

After the second substance has been added in the polymeric matrix, an emulsion is formed and a more robust material is produced by compounding which improves the mechanical and impact force of the materials. Nanomaterials have emerged as an exciting new technique and method to improve the toughening and reinforcement enhancement of plastics. The defects on the surface of the small-sized particles dispersed in phase are very few, and there are a lot of non-paired electrons. The ratio of the surface atomic number to the total atomic number of nanoparticles increase dramatically as the particle decreases in size. Crystal field environments and binding energy of surface atoms are different from those of internal atoms. As such, they have great chemical activity. As a result of the micronization in the crystal field as well as the rise of active surface molecules, the surface energy is greatly increased, so it can be a close match to polymer substrates, and it has an excellent compatibility. When the substrate is exposed to external forces the ion will not be easy to detach from the substrate . This allows it to more effectively transfer the stress. Also as it interacts with the stress field it is likely to create microcracks and deformations in the material. This can result in the substrate bending and consume a great deal of energy from impacts, so as to achieve the purpose of toughening and strengthening at the same time. Nano-materials that are most commonly utilized are nano alumina, nano silica, nano-calcium carbonate and others.

4. Enhance the thermal conductivity of plastics

The thermal conductive plastics are a sort of plastic product that has great thermal conductivity. They generally exceeds 1Wper (m. K.). Thermal conductive plastics are more and more widely used because of their light weight rapid thermal conductivity, simple injection moldingand low processing cost and so on. Due to its excellent in thermal insulation, and conductivity nano-alumina is extensively used in thermal conductive plastics thermal conductive rubber, thermal construction age, thermally conductivity coatings, and many other fields. Contrary to metal fillers, nano-alumina can not only enhance the thermal conductivity but also enhance the insulation effect, as well as the mechanical properties and properties of plastics might also be improved.

5. Improve processing capabilities of plastics

Certain polymers like high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) which has a viscosity standard molecular weight greater than 150 minutes, exhibit excellent overall properties, but they are difficult to be constructed and processed due their high viscosity, which limits their use and popularity. Profiting from the low interlaminar coefficient of friction in a layered silicate sheet, the nano-rare-earth / ultra high molecular weight polyethylene compound was developed by mixing UHMWPE with layers of silicate, which can effectively reduce the interaction of UHMWPE molecular chain and reduce the viscosity. This can play an important role in lubricationand greatly improve its ability to process.

6. Nanomaterials make plastics more functional.

Metal nanoparticles can be found in heterogeneous nucleation, which may trigger the formation of various crystal forms , which give strength on the substrates. If polypropylene is filled the metal nanoparticles having a melting point of low it is observed that it may play the role of conductive channel, enhancing and toughening the polypropylene as well as its lower melting point also increases the processing capability of composites.

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