Amrita Receives New Funded Project


Research Project CB.PR.34

Ms. Meera B. Sasikumar, M Tech
The Institution of Engineers (India), Kolkata
Dept. of Chemical Engineering & Material Science,
Amrita School of Engineering, Coimbatore
Start Date
January 2, 2009
Nanofillers are increasingly being used in various materials to enhance their properties. Micro scale composites have been used even earlier, but nanocomposites do the job much better. The current thinking is that they greatly improve mechanical properties especially abrasion resistance, tear resistance and compression set of microcellular sheets. Barrier properties, ethernal properties, etc. all show an improvement.
Notably, these improvements are observed when filler levels are low. Less than 5% of the nanocomposite is added to the resin compound, without changing the resin transparency. In polymers with nanofillers, an increase in modulus by a factor of three and a reduction in permeability by two orders of magnitude were observed. In addition, there was an increase in heat deflection temperature by 100C – 170C and an overall reduction of flammability.
This project envisages the improvement of mechanical properties of natural rubber based microcellular sheets by the addition of nanofillers such as nanoclay. Nanoclay added to conventional microcellular sheet formulations at different levels will result in a change in mechanical properties of the sheet, which will be studied. The goal is to arrive at the optimum filler levels so that the best desirable properties are obtained.
It is proposed to use design of experiments so that realistic and accurate analyses may be had from lesser numbers of experiments. Concurrent research projects in the same department are evaluating the best materials that can be used to make footwear for diabetic patients. The results of this study, ie the optimised formulation to improve properties of microcellular sheets will be made available to them as well as the footwear industry.
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