The Clay-Polymer project

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The Clay-Polymer Nanocomposite Group consists of a collaboration of researchers at three leading UK Universities, working together to gain a fuller understanding of clay-polymer nanocomposite systems.

Pseudo-trilayer formation in the interlayer region
		  of a poly(ethylene glycol) intercalated potassium
		  montmorillonite nanocomposite precursor

The five principal objectives of the project are:

  1. To design and synthesise libraries of 'monomer' additives which can intercalate clay galleries and be capable of crosslinking or polymerisation in situ .
  2. To define the range of minerals which can be incorporated in nanocomposites with appropriate pretreatments, and in so doing delineate the exfoliation criteria.
  3. To explore processing (shape forming) operations for nanocomposites of both low and high mineral contents.
  4. To prepare bulk nanocomposites at varying mineral volume fractions for mechanical testing as a function of orientation (modulus, Poisson's ratio, toughness, strength) and for moisture and heat resistance.
  5. To develop a fundamental understanding of the molecular mechanisms of intercalation and polymerisation within the clay galleries using molecular simulation and informatics-based techniques.

The research is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council under the Chemistry at the Materials Interface funding initiative.