Applying nanoparticles into any substance can transform that material in ways that were unimaginable only twenty years ago.
They can make products lighter and stronger. They can turn electrical insulating products into ones that are electrically conductive, or they can raise or lower the melting point of a material. In fact, the list of properties that they can add to a raw material is long, but those properties come at a price.
Consequentially, high-grade nanoparticles can be prohibitively expensive for most large-scale manufacturing purposes.
Until now, because a new nanotechnology breakthrough will increase the efficiency of nanomaterial applications by focusing their effect only on the surface of a material where they are often most needed.
Previous developments of nanoparticle applications have included processes such as ‘volumetric nanostructuring’, a method which allows for the even distribution of nanomaterials throughout a given substance. However, this process requires the complete melting of the polymer material.
Modifying this approach so that it involves only a surface treatment of polymer granules with a layer of nanoparticles will not only reduce production costs but will crucially lead to a more efficient use of nanomaterials.
As Lev Lyapeikov, the product development manager at AG CHEMI GROUP, explains, “This technology makes it possible to obtain a high-quality dispersion and distribution of nanoparticles on the polymer surface, thus reducing the consumption of expensive nanomaterials and increasing the efficiency and functionality of nanomaterials in modified materials.”
Specifically, the technology is able, “… to obtain either a uniform distribution of nanomaterial in the volume of the obtained product or to create a so-called segregated lattice (a 3d lattice through the entire product volume), which will significantly improves the material's properties.”
Given the enormous size of the polymer market, the range of products that this nanoproduct process can be applied to is vast. Providing a more efficient way to apply nanomaterials and their inherent properties into paints, varnishes, and coatings, into plastics, and floor coverings, into lubricants, and elastomers, and asphalts. In fact, lowering the quantities of nanomaterials needed while at the same time ensuring an even spread of those used only at the material surface, could truly be the breakthrough that allows nanomaterials to become mainstream.
While the properties applied will still depend on the nanomaterials used and their design at the nanoscale, the cost savings could be extraordinary.