Perspective | Published:

Polymer matrix nanocomposites for automotive structural components

Nature Nanotechnology volume 11, pages 10261030 (2016) | Download Citation

Abstract

Over the past several decades, the automotive industry has expended significant effort to develop lightweight parts from new easy-to-process polymeric nanocomposites. These materials have been particularly attractive because they can increase fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, attempts to reinforce soft matrices by nanoscale reinforcing agents at commercially deployable scales have been only sporadically successful to date. This situation is due primarily to the lack of fundamental understanding of how multiscale interfacial interactions and the resultant structures affect the properties of polymer nanocomposites. In this Perspective, we critically evaluate the state of the art in the field and propose a possible path that may help to overcome these barriers. Only once we achieve a deeper understanding of the structure–properties relationship of polymer matrix nanocomposites will we be able to develop novel structural nanocomposites with enhanced mechanical properties for automotive applications.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    The conflicts between strength and toughness. Nat. Mater. 10, 817–822 (2011).

  2. 2.

    & Fibre-matrix adhesion and its relationship to composite mechanical properties. J. Mater. Sci. 28, 569–610 (1993).

  3. 3.

    et al. Polymer nanocomposites. MRS Bull. 32, 314–322 (2007).

  4. 4.

    , & Stimuli-responsive, mechanically-adaptive polymer nanocomposites. J. Mater. Chem. 21, 2812–2822 (2011).

  5. 5.

    National Research Council Application of Lightweighting Technology to Military Aircraft, Vessels and Vehicles 122 (National Academies Press, 2012).

  6. 6.

    & Polymer nanocomposites: status and opportunities. MRS Bull. 26, 394–401 (2001).

  7. 7.

    et al. Small-molecule-directed nanoparticle assembly towards stimuli-responsive nanocomposites. Nat. Mater. 8, 979–985 (2009).

  8. 8.

    et al. Ordered three- and five-ply nanocomposites from ABC block terpolymer microphase separation with niobia and aluminosilicate sol. Chem. Mater. 21, 5466–5473 (2009).

  9. 9.

    , & Fabrication of graphene–polymer nanocomposites with higher-order three-dimensional architectures. Adv. Mater. 21, 2180–2184 (2009).

  10. 10.

    , , & Hierarchical polymer–nanotube composites. Adv. Mater. 19, 3850–3853 (2007).

  11. 11.

    , & Polymer crystallization-driven, periodic patterning on carbon nanotubes. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128, 1692–1699 (2006).

  12. 12.

    , , & Entropically driven formation of hierarchically ordered nanocomposites. Phys. Rev. Lett. 89, 155503 (2002).

  13. 13.

    , , & Entropically driven microphase transitions in mixtures of colloidal rods and spheres. Nature 393, 349–352 (1998).

  14. 14.

    , , , & Synergy derived by combining graphene and carbon nanotubes as nanofillers in composites. J. Nanosci. Nanotechnol. 12, 3165–3169 (2012).

  15. 15.

    & Polymer nanocomposites with prescribed morphology: going beyond nanoparticle-filled polymers. Chem. Mater. 19, 2736–2751 (2007).

  16. 16.

    et al. Compression and aggregation-resistant particles of soft sheets. ACS Nano 5, 8943–8949 (2011).

  17. 17.

    , & The effect of nanoparticle shape on polymer-nanocomposite rheology and tensile strength. J. Polym. Sci. B, Polym. Phys. 45, 1882–1897 (2007).

  18. 18.

    et al. Functionalized graphene sheets for polymer nanocomposites. Nat. Nanotech. 3, 327–331 (2008).

  19. 19.

    & Reinforcement and interphase of polymer/graphene oxide nanocomposites. J. Mater. Chem. 22, 3637–3646 (2012).

  20. 20.

    & How nano are nanocomposites? Macromolecules 40, 8501–8517 (2007).

  21. 21.

    , , , & A strategy for dimensional percolation in sheared nanorod dispersions. Adv. Mater. 19, 4038–4043 (2007).

  22. 22.

    et al. Graphene polyimide nanocomposites; thermal, mechanical, and high-temperature shape memory effects. ACS Nano 6, 7644–7655 (2012).

  23. 23.

    Tough, bio-inspired hybrid materials. Science 322, 1516–1520 (2008).

  24. 24.

    et al. General strategies for nanoparticle dispersion. Science 311, 1740–1743 (2006).

  25. 25.

    , , & Interactions between single-walled carbon nanotubes and polyethylene/polypropylene/polystyrene/poly(phenylacetylene)/poly(p-phenylenevinylene) considering repeat unit arrangements and conformations: a molecular dynamics simulation study. J. Phys. Chem. C 112, 1803–1811 (2008).

  26. 26.

    et al. Noncovalent engineering of carbon nanotube surfaces by rigid, functional conjugated polymers. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 124, 9034–9035 (2002).

  27. 27.

    & Nanocomposites and methods thereto. US patent 7,479,516 B2 (2009).

  28. 28.

    , & High-performance elastomeric nanocomposites via solvent-exchange processing. Nat. Mater. 6, 76–83 (2007).

  29. 29.

    & The chemistry of polymer–clay hybrids. Mater. Sci. Eng. C 3, 109–115 (1995).

  30. 30.

    , , Secondary structure and elevated temperature crystallite morphology of nylon-6/layered silicate nanocomposites. Polymer 42, 1621–1631 (2001).

  31. 31.

    Automotive materials: technology trends and challenges in the 21st century. MRS Bull. 31, 336–343 (2006).

  32. 32.

    & Mechanism of exfoliation of nanoclay particles in epoxy-clay nanocomposites. Macromolecules 36, 2758–2768 (2003).

  33. 33.

    , & Graphene/polymer nanocomposites. Macromolecules 43, 6515–6530 (2010).

  34. 34.

    , , & Co-continuous composite materials for stiffness, strength, and energy dissipation. Adv. Mater. 23, 1524–1529 (2011).

  35. 35.

    et al. An artificial biomineral formed by incorporation of copolymer micelles in calcite crystals. Nat. Mater. 10, 890–896 (2011).

  36. 36.

    & Mycelium structures containing nanocomposite materials and method. US patent 8,283,153 B2 (2012).

  37. 37.

    , , & A new class of renewable thermoplastics with extraordinary performance from nanostructured lignin-elastomers. Adv. Funct. Mater. 26, 2677–2685 (2016).

  38. 38.

    et al. Anisotropic self-assembly of spherical polymer-grafted nanoparticles. Nat. Mater. 8, 354–359 (2009).

  39. 39.

    , & Nanocomposites of vertically aligned single-walled carbon nanotubes by magnetic alignment and polymerization of a lyotropic precursor. ACS Nano 4, 6651–6658 (2010).

  40. 40.

    et al. Small-molecule-directed nanoparticle assembly towards stimuli-responsive nanocomposites. Nat. Mater. 8, 979–985 (2009).

  41. 41.

    & Nanocomposites: structure, phase behavior, and properties. Annu. Rev. Chem. Biomol. Eng. 1, 37–58 (2010).

  42. 42.

    et al. Controlling interfacial dynamics: covalent bonding versus physical adsorption in polymer nanocomposites. ACS Nano 10, 6843–6853 (2016).

  43. 43.

    Structural nanocomposites. Science 319, 419–420 (2008).

  44. 44.

    , & Magnetorheological nanocomposite elastomer for releasable attachment applications. US patent 7,430,788 B2 (2008).

  45. 45.

    et al. Mechanical property and structure of covalent functionalised graphene/epoxy nanocomposites. Sci. Rep. 4, 4375 (2014).

  46. 46.

    et al. Enhanced mechanical properties of nanocomposites at low graphene content. ACS Nano. 3, 3884–3890 (2009).

  47. 47.

    et al. SWCNT induced crystallization in an amorphous all-aromatic poly (ether imide). Macromolecules 46, 1492–1503 (2013).

  48. 48.

    , , & Mechanical properties and microstructure of polyetheretherketone–hydroxyapatite nanocomposite materials. Mater. Lett. 64, 2201–2204 (2010).

  49. 49.

    , & A new compounding method for exfoliated graphite–polypropylene nanocomposites with enhanced flexural properties and lower percolation threshold. Compos. Sci. Technol. 67, 2045–2051 (2007).

  50. 50.

    et al. Layered and scrolled nanocomposites with aligned semi-infinite graphene inclusions at the platelet limit. Science. 353, 364–367 (2016).

Download references

Acknowledgements

We acknowledge support from the Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program and Technology Innovation Program of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, for the US Department of Energy. J.K.K. also acknowledges the financial support of the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences and the Spallation Neutron Source, which are sponsored by the Scientific User Facilities Division, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, US Department of Energy.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Carbon and Composites Group, Materials Science and Technology Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831-6053, USA

    • Amit K. Naskar
  2. Center for Nanophase Materials Science and Spallation Neutron Source, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831, USA

    • Jong K. Keum
  3. Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorate, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831, USA

    • Raymond G. Boeman
  4. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA

    • Raymond G. Boeman

Authors

  1. Search for Amit K. Naskar in:

  2. Search for Jong K. Keum in:

  3. Search for Raymond G. Boeman in:

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Amit K. Naskar.

About this article

Publication history

Received

Accepted

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2016.262