SBIR Phase I: Nanomaterials Reinforced Light-Weight Structural Composites

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Nanomaterial Innovation Ltd.
1109 Millcreek Lane, Columbus, OH, 43220
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Nan-Rong Chiou
(614) 282-0460
Business Contact:
Nan-Rong Chiou
(614) 282-0460
Research Institution:
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project is to design, synthesize, manufacture, and test high-performance polymeric composite structures based on commercially proven resins, long fibers and nano-sized functional particles. Long fibers can provide good mechanical properties for the composites, while affordable nanoparticles such as nanoclays, graphene, carbon nanofibers and carbon nanotubes may improve barrier properties and strengthen the matrix between long fibers. To succeed in producing these new composites, two issues need to be addressed: how to disperse nanoparticles in the presence of long fibers and whether or not resin processability can be maintained and enhanced in the presence of nanoparticles. Our approach is to develop novel surface coatings of those nanoparticles, which can assist the dispersion and enhance the surface oleophilicity of the particles; consequently minimizing the flow resistance resulting from the nanoparticles. Furthermore, novel surface coatings can also increase the reaction rate and final conversion for both epoxy and vinylester resins cured at low temperature. This is highly valuable for manufacturing large composite structures using vacuum assisted resin transfer molding process. It is anticipated that successfully incorporating these modified nanoparticles in structural composites will address multiple demanding applications in energy, transportation, construction and security industries. The expected outcome expect is to significantly grow the overall share of composites in the materials industry and position Nanomaterial Innovation Ltd. (NIL) to be the industry innovation leader. While steel, wood and aluminum are prevalent today, the new composite materials will enable the replacement of traditional materials with lighter, stronger, more durable, and cost effective nano-tailored composites. Successful commercialization of these higher value-added nano-tailored composite products will have a significant impact on energy generation, material use, energy consumption and environmental stewardship. This award will enhance the United States global leadership position in multifunctional nano-tailored composite materials and products. Societal benefits include reduced petroleum dependency, improved energy efficiency, and reduced use of conventional fossil fuels that contribute to global warming. Educational and scientific benefits relate to the pioneering nature of nanocomposite technology and the opportunity this project will provide to advance frontiers of knowledge and the training of future scientists. This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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