Feb 24, 2009
Formation of hollow PMMA/MWCNT nanocomposite cylinders
The hollow PMMA/MWCNT nanocomposite cylinders with various diameters and heights were formed under 700 W microwave irradiation within 1 minute. These experimental results may lead to a new polymer processing technology for the formation of hollow polymeric articles that is totally different from the conventional injection and blowing process.
In an article to be published in Nanotechnology, researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Nano and Advanced Materials Institute report a novel technology to form PMMA/MWCNT hollow cylinders under microwave irradiation.
As shown in the photographs, the PMMA/MWCNT cylinder with a height of about 12 mm is hollow inside. By manipulating various operating parameters - microwave irradiation time and power, weight of PMMA/MWCNT nanocomposite particles, weight percent of MWCNTs in the nanocomposite particles and the choice of shim blocks - the height and morphology of the hollow PMMA/MWCNTs cylinders could be adjusted.
Potential applications of this technology are manifold. One can fabricate CNT-embedded pipes, tubing and other hollow articles with improved electrical and mechanical properties that cannot be readily produced by the conventional injection and blowing process.
It is conceivable that the equipment based on this microwave irradiation technology could be cheaper than the conventional polymer processing equipment for forming hollow articles. With further development and refinement, this technology can be used to manufacture multifunctional articles by incorporating MWCNTs and other materials with unique properties in the polymer substrate.
About the author
Dr. Huan Wang is a research associate at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). Dr. Jiyun Feng is a technical project manager at Nano and Advanced Materials Institute Limited (NAMI), Hong Kong. Prof. Xijun Hu and Prof. Ka Ming Ng are with the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at HKUST. Prof. Ng is also the chief executive officer of NAMI; he is currently involved in the conceptualization and commercialization of chemical, biochemical, pharmaceutical and nanotechnology-based products and manufacturing processes.