Surface-Induced molecular organisation in polymers


CALL: 2009

DOMAIN: MS - New Functional and Intelligent Materials and Surfaces


LAST NAME: Sanctuary



HOST INSTITUTION: University of Luxembourg

KEYWORDS: Interfaces, interphases

START: 2010-03-01

END: 2013-02-28


Submitted Abstract

Interfacial interactions play a dominant role in a large variety of structural and functionalmaterials. They are made responsible for the emergence of morphologically – and usuallyproperty-changed domains which are nowadays called interphases. At best such interphasescan significantly improve the physical, chemical and/or technological properties of materialsespecially of composites or can actually produce completely new properties. It is therefore atopical challenge to favourably influence the properties and the impact of existing interphases oreven to create interphases with exceptional benefits. Consequently, the current tremendousresearch efforts made in the field focus on the invention of new structural materials withoutstanding or even with functional properties.The shortcomings in optimizing the physical properties of interphases are due to a lack offundamental understanding of their emergence, their growth, their stability etc. Theseshortcomings demand i.) for problem-oriented model systems, ii.) for suitable experimentalprobes which cover the bridge from the structural to the property aspect and iii.) for competentpartners.The SIMOP project covers the three challenges: Polymers and especially reactive polymerschange their morphology and in turn their functionality at substrate surfaces. Purely chemicallystimulated interphases are usually thin within a range of a few nanometers; purely physicallyinduced interphases may extend to some hundreds of micrometers. Prominent examples areinterphases in adhesive joints or between different elastomeric components in tires.The project SIMOP focuses on the creation of surface-induced 2- and 3-dimensionalmacroscopic interphases in polymers to get access to their transient and final static anddynamic properties. A goal is to conserve the novel properties of the interphases even afterremoving the structure-stimulating substrates. Interphases also develop in materialsfunctionalized by means of micro–or nanosized fillers. As a strong and especially competentpartner in this field Goodyear Innovation Center Luxembourg takes part in SIMOP.In many cases an experimental access to these interphases is limited by the fact that theyoccur at inner surfaces. Therefore, in the frame of SIMOP, planar substrate surfaces willtentatively be used as model systems for inner surfaces in composites, if possible.Reactive systems like epoxies or phenol formaldehyde and elastomers will be considered aspolymers. Three classes of substrates are in the focus: (i) nanostructuredpolytetrafluoroethylene (PIA); (ii) surface-treated thermoplastics and (iii) porous glasses.The application of reactive polymers or elastomers with high molecular weight to PIA substratesand porous glasses represents a promosing new approach to create novel kinds of interphasesprobably resulting in the creation of innovative materials.Textured interphases are expected to appear when the polymers are applied to anti-adhesivesubstrates like so-called PIA films or untreated thermoplastics.Especially interesting interphases are expected if the substrate surfaces are 3-D-structured (e.g. porous glass slides/films) or plasma treated, respectively. The aspect ‘functional’ comes intoplay when the surface-induced morphological changes within the polymer of interest have ascientific and/or technological value by its own.The research field of interphases is too complex that it will be widely understood at the end ofSIMOP. Nonetheless, significant progress in the understanding of their fundamental propertiesand their technological implications is expected.Convention

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