SBIR Phase II: Automotive Nanocomposites
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II proposal aims to commercialize a new mesoporous silicate nanoparticles for the reinforcement of thermoplastic polymers used in the manufacture of U.S. cars and light trucks. Whereas nanoparticles, in general, provide some polymer reinforcement benefits, they typically lack the ability to provide strength as well as stiffness. Also, they normally require extensive organic surface modification for dispersion in the polymer matrix. Organic modifiers limit nanoparticles thermal stability and compromise their suitability for nanocomposite manufacturing through cost-effective melt processing methods. The purely inorganic mesoporous silicates this project plans, circumvent all of the limitations caused by organic modifies by providing a unique combination of surface polarity, mesopore size, surface area, and pore volume which optimizes interfacial interactions between the particles and the polymer matrix for effective dispersion and reinforcement. In addition to providing stiffness at particle loadings, the mesoporous silicates provide strength, which allows the amount of polymer needed to produce an automotive part to be reduced in proportion to the added strength. The polymer savings alone allow users of the technology to reduce the weight of the vehicle, achieve stiffness, and improve fuel economy at no added cost. The broader impact/commercial potential of automotive nanocomposites can directly impact the US energy economy, as well as environmental quality. The combination of
reduced vehicle weight and increased fuel economy translates into a reduction in petroleum consumption and green house gas emissions. The process for producing mesoporous silicate nanoparticles is neither energy-intensive nor environmentally harmful. Based on aqueous sol-gel chemistry, this project's nanoparticles are manufactured in yields at a temperature of with no harmful waste released to the environment.
Small Business Information at Submission:
5901 Sleepy Hollow East Lansing, MI 48823
Number of Employees: