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Title: Carbon-coated nanoparticles and their application in high performance polymer nanocomposites
Author: Wang, Nannan
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 1903
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2018
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Shrinking down into nanoscale, materials exhibit huge property advantages over their bulk form. New forms of carbon at nanoscale have occupied the prominent position in modern materials research. With a very long history accompanying our human civilisation, carbon as a wonder material has once again contributed to our technological advances, as evidenced by the discoveries and research attractions in the last a few decades. Research into fullerenes (C60, C70, etc.), carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphene has been continued raising, because of the numerous novel properties associated with these new carbon forms1-3. On top of their excellent electronical, physical and chemical properties, CNTs and graphene also exhibit excellent mechanical properties including ultra-high tensile strength, Young’s Modulus, as well as high thermal conductivities. Research into carbon has also promoted the flourish of many new non-carbon nanomaterials, and typical examples include the inorganic fullerene-like tungsten disulphide (IF-WS2) nanoparticles (NPs), numerous oxide NPs and nanowires that also exhibit various remarkable properties, such as high hardness and anti-oxidation stability. To combine the outstanding performances of both carbon and non-carbon nanomaterials by marrying nanoscale carbon with various metal oxide particles, which forms the backbone of my thesis by carrying out the intensive investigations. In my project it have further validated the advantages of the resulting new carbon-coated NPs in different polymeric matrix composites. The main findings are as follows: 1. A home-made rotary chemical vapour deposit (RCVD) system has been modified and this versatile facility has been applied successfully to produce different types of graphitic carbon-coated nanocomposite particles, from micro- down to nano-scale, including IF-WS2, TiO2, ZnO, Y2O3, Cr2O3, CeO2 and ZrO2 etc. The production can be up to 30 g/per batch, which is 10s times more than using a traditional static furnace, by avoiding severe agglomeration. 2. The resulting coating consists of a few layered graphitic carbon with lattice space 0.34 nm. The thickness of the coating is simply controllable between 1-5 nm, depending on the deposition time (10~60 min), precursor injection flow rate (1.2~2.4 ml/L) and heating temperature (700~900 oC). Furthermore, the oxide core of ZnO@C was removed by heating under the H2/Ar atmosphere, and have successfully generated nano- to micro-scale, hollow, closed, and all-carbon structures. 3. The commercial Nylon 12 is applied to fabricate the metal oxide polymer composite. Using ZnO@C-Nylon 12 composite as an example, at 2 wt% content, the composites have achieved with the ultimate tensile strength increased by 27% (from 47.9 to 59.6 MPa), In particular, at 4 wt% content, the ZnO@C showed an impressive improvement in thermal conductivity of nearly 50% (From 0.21 t0 0.31 W∙m-1∙K-1), comparing 16% improvement for ZnO-Nylon 12 composite. 4. Apart from investigations of nylon composite, intensive studies of the Poly ether ether ketone (PEEK), an important high performance engineering thermoplastics polymer, and its nanocomposites reinforced by IF-WS2 and IF-WS2@C have been carried out in this thesis. The IF-WS2/PEEK composites exhibited not only an improvements of 24% (From 77.6 to 96.7 MPa) in the tensile strength (2 wt%), but also showed an extraordinary increase in thermal conductivity by 190%, from 0.248 to 0.719 W∙m-1∙K-1 at 8 wt%, higher onset decomposing temperatures (54 oC) against the plain PEEK. 5. Moreover, owing to the better dispersal capacity of IF-WS2@C NPs, the ternary IF-WS2@C-PEEK nanocomposites produced in this thesis displayed impressive mechanical properties, increased by 51% (From 77.6 to 120.9 MPa, at 2 wt%), and extremely greater thermal conductivity, with 235% (From 0.248 to 0.831 W∙m-1∙K-1 at 8 wt%), and better stability than the comparison IF-WS2-PEEK composites. The parameters influencing the coating quality and thickness have also been investigated. Further, their interface studies based on the FTIR and XPS techniques have verified the formation of chemical bonding (C=S bonding and carbon π-π bonding), rather than physically bonded together. The successful application of the generic RCVD process can be further extended to the processing of many new particles for an ultrathin carbon coating. Considering the vast amount of literature focusing on carbon, the project further processing of carbon-coated materials in composites could easily be tailored to achieve desired surface contacts with different matrices and leading to the better desired performance, as verified in this thesis for the advanced binary and ternary composites. Finally, this research is expecting to expand the application potentials of PEEK-based nanocomposites in critical areas where thermal conductivity and thermal stability are important.
Supervisor: Zhu, Yanqiu Jr ; Xia, Yongde Jr Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Nanoparticles ; Nanocomposites ; Carbon coating ; High performance polymer ; PEEK