Recent collaborative work by the research groups of Chemical and Biological Engineering Professors Ilhan Aksay, Bob Prud homme, and Rick Register has shown that functional graphene sheets (FGS) make effective multifunctional nano-fillers for several types of elastomers, simultaneously improving mechanical properties, reducing gas permeation, and imparting electrical conductivity. This combination of property improvements is unavailable from any other filler, including carbon black and nanoclays, and result from the high aspect ratio and crumpled morphology of the graphene sheets. The research team also included Postdoctoral Associate Bulent Ozbas, former CBE undergraduate Christopher O Neil 06, and Research Scholar Douglas Adamson, now on the faculty at the University of Connecticut. These results were published in the July 1 issue of the Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics, where they were highlighted on the issue cover showing a colorized scanning electron microscope image of the fracture surface of an FGS-natural rubber nanocomposite. For those with journal access, the full article is viewable here.
(Posted 20 June 2012)