Nanocomposite technology nears commercialization

Applied Nanoinfusion Inc. reports that it is nearing commercialization of its technology to produce in-situ nanocomposites that combine thermoplastics and organometallic precursors.


Applied Nanoinfusion Inc. (Dayton , Ohio , USA) reports that it is nearing commercialization of its technology to produce in-situ thermoplastic nanocomposites via nanoinfusion processing. Nanoinfusion processing alleviates the need for polymer/nanoparticle mixing.

Nanoinfusion processing, backed by five patents, consists of three simple steps. First, a mild vacuum is applied to a thermoplastic polymer, which may consist of particles, pellets, film, or small objects (to 0.1875 inch/4.8 mm thickness). Next, an organometallic or metal halide precursor is admitted to the vacuum chamber, and the vacuum is released. Finally, thermal, photochemical, or chemical conversion is used to convert the infused thermoplastic to a thermoplastic nanocomposite, with nanoparticles ranging from 3 to 10 nm in diameter and up to 10 percent/wt nanoparticle loading.

The result, says the company, is the first in-situ nanocomposite, with 100 percent dispersion and the capability to produce mono-sized nanoparticles. Dr. Stan Prybyla, president of Applied Nanoinfusion, says the technology works with virtually all thermoplastics, including numerous high performance thermoplastics. The nanoparticle filler can consist of metals, metal compounds, or semiconductor quantum dots.

Organometallics tested include TiCl4 (titanium tetrachloride), SiCl4 (silicon tetrachloride), Zn(Et)2 (diethylzinc), W(CO)6 (tungsten hexacarbonyl), Ni(CO)4 (nickel tetracarbonyl), VOCl3 (vanadium oxytrichloride), Fe(CO)5 (iron pentacarbonyl) and Fe(acac) (iron acetylacetonate).

Thermoplastics tested include PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), ETFE (polyethylenetetrafluoroethylene), FEP (fluorinated ethylene propylene), polyethylene, polypropylene, EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate), PET (polyethylene terephthalate), PI (polyimide), PEK (polyetherketone) and PEEK (polyetheretherketone).

A currently available nanoinfusion system has produced up to 10 kg/22 lb of polymer nanocomposite in a single day and the process is scalable up to ton quantities. The resulting nanocomposite material can be subsequently processed into films or objects using standard thermomechanical processing without agglomeration of nanoparticles.

Potential aerospace/military applications listed by the company include photonic (energy converting) films; low wear rate polymers; erosion resistant EMI/RFI coatings and films; UV resistant coatings; sensors; enhanced adhesives; bonding and joining materials; toughened composites; and high-strength,high-modulus composites.

A slide show of the technology is available at Visit the company at