Micro/Nano Composite Fibers
Infusion of nano materials in polymer composites opens a new door to the composites industry. With the vision to make stiffer composite structures by adding nanoparticles in polymers, several approaches were followed to functionalize nanoparticles and later add these particles to a different polymer system. This was done to improve the interfacial attraction of nanoparticles in the polymer matrix. However, creating a material with superior mechanical property with homogenous nanoparticle dispersion throughout the polymer matrix is a great challenge Therefore, our group investigates different solution schemes to get a uniform nanoparticle-reinforced matrix of polymer nanofibers.
A potential application of such nanoparticle – polymer fiber composites is in the design of armor vests. Incorporating segments of stiffer composites nanoparticle-fibers scaffolds in the vest can potentially improve the functionality of these vests by offering protection against ballistic properties of projectiles.
Nanofiber characterization is essential for exploring the potential applications of our nanofibers in the fields of biomedical, electronic, and electromechanical devices. Characterization of these structures poses special challenges when compared to standard tensile or bending tests due to manipulation difficulties and unattainable boundary conditions. Our group is exploring new approaches to attain fixed boundary conditions by using the STEP technique. Using high spatial resolution and force-sensing capabilities provided by the AFM and Nanoindenter, we have, and continue to explore a wide spectrum of mechanical properties including elastic modulus, ultimate strength, and failure.