TARRC's David Lowe gains his PhD

David Lowe, Advanced Materials & Product Development Unit, has successfully defended his PhD thesis, which was on the subject of 'Natural Rubber/Organoclay Nanocomposites'. This involved the use of Organoclay Nanocomposites as a reinforcing filler of clay minerals that have been organically modified to make them more compatible with polymers like NR.

When mixed into NR, the clay agglomerates break down into nano-particles with very high aspect ratios that allow them to produce considerable reinforcement at low levels of filler.

To date two papers have been published on this work: 'NR/Organoclay Nanocomposites by In-Situ Modification' in Macromolecular Materials and Engineering, and “Micromechanical Models of Young’s Modulus of NR/Organoclay Nanocomposites” in Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics.

More details on the PhD exam can be found at:
http://www.sems.qmul.ac.uk/news/?eid=2874.

The work has also been presented at a number of international conferences.

There are several avenues for further research produced by this work, such as the proposed replacement of current fillers by organoclays in a number of engineering applications. It is also believed that in situ organic modification of clay during mixing will prove to be superior in many respects to the use of pre-modified organoclays in elastomers such as NR.

'It is hoped that these and other advances made during this investigation will ultimately benefit the Malaysian rubber industry by allowing components to be produced that are both cheaper to manufacture and superior in performance, as well as potentially opening up entirely new applications for NR materials', states Dr Lowe.

For more information contact David Lowe at dlowe@tarrc.co.uk.

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July 2012
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