Development of a polymer nanocomposite with cellulose filaments for automotive industry

Cellulose is the most abundant biomass product on Earth. It is a biodegradable macromolecule with a semi-crystalline structure that is extensively used for the fabrication of paper. Cellulose filaments (CF) are nanofibers with a high aspect ratio, which gives them notable mechanical and rheological properties that enable their use as rheology modifiers, mechanical reinforcement of several materials such as paper, thermoplastics, thermosets and concrete.

In particular, it was shown, that their addition to polymer resins, at relatively low loading levels, resulted in a good improvement of the mechanical properties of the resins while maintaining good flow properties and low density. This type of nanocomposites has been identified, as an interesting material for the automotive industry.

However, as it is the case for all types of nanocomposites, its good properties depend on a proper dispersion of the CF within the polymer and a strong interfacial adhesion between the CF and the polymer matrix. In the case of most thermoplastics, obtaining a proper dispersion by melt mixing still remains a challenge as most polymers are hydrophobic and CF is hydrophilic.

Furthermore, cellulose is prone to thermal degradation during processing and water uptake, which both should be avoided. A right combination of additive which will enhance the mechanical reinforcement effect of cellulose filament, reduce the moisture content and water uptake as well as increase the heat deflection temperature and impact strength, as well as processing conditions to obtain these materials still need to be optimized.

This PhD project aims at developing PA and PP cellulose filaments nanocomposites.

It will require

  • The optimization of processing parameters to obtain cellulose filaments nanocomposites by melt-mixing. Techniques such as wet-extrusion, use of polymer blends, chemical modification of cellulose or polymer will be evaluated.
  • The development of a model to study the formation of the morphology of these materials during processing.
  • The evaluation of the mechanical, rheological, thermal and barrier properties of the composites obtain and the  establishment of a correlation to their morphologies.

   

Required knowledge

Chemical, Materials or Mechanical Engineer of Chemist

Desired program of studies

Doctorate

Research domains

Materials and manufacturing

Financing

Financed by a Cooperative Research Development Project with a private Company

Additional information

Date de début : 2019-05-01  

Partenaires :

  • Kruger Biomatériaux
  • Université du Québec en Abitibi-Temiscamingue
  • Université du Québec à Trois Rivières