Multimodal Acoustic Mixing Process for Carbon Nanotube Polymer Composites
Small Business Information
130 N. Main Street, Butte, MT, 59701
Abstract79430S Conventional, industrial polymer mixers, such as kneaders and twin screws, do not provide sufficient carbon nanotube dispersion to realize the full potential of nanotube reinforcements in polymers. Although laboratory researchers commonly disperse carbon nanotubes into solvents and polymers, only modest systematic work has been conducted to make the hardware more effective or energy efficient, and the transfer of these bench-scale practices to industrial processes for the manufacture of carbon nanotube polymer composites has received even less attention. This project will investigate mixing small diameter carbon nanotubes into a polymer matrix using a high intensity, multimodal (multifrequency) acoustic field. In Phase I, data will be gathered on the interaction of acoustic energy with a heterogeneous medium comprised of carbon nanotubes and an epoxy polymer. Experiments will be conducted to compare mixing performance against existing ¿silent¿ mixing methods, by evaluating the mixedness of the nanocomposites and the mechanical properties of the test specimens. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The mixing technology should allow higher performance products to be produced by incorporating nanotube additives with limited capital expense. The replacement of conventional polymers or alloys with nanocomposite polymers offers the potential to reduce weight substantially without sacrificing properties. One benefit would be improved fuel economy in cars and airplanes constructed with nanocomposite polymers.
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