A research team from the Public University of Navarre (UPNA) together with the L’Urederra R+D Centre and Compuestos y Granzas is developing composite PVC materials using nanofillings.
In the project, which includes the production of the nanofilled PVC composite materials, the research team will synthesize and treat nanoclays and then insert them into the polymer matrix. Antonio Gil-Bravo, one of the researchers from UPNA, informed that the primary objective of the project is to enhance the polymer materials’ photostability properties, which produce discoloration and decrease the performance of the materials, and eventually reduce their useful life. Moreover, the material’s resistance to ultraviolet radiation can be increased by introducing molecules that can absorb light radiation.
These molecules may be an ionic type, which can be added to the polymer matrix utilizing a variety of techniques, such as ion-exchange. The material’s absorption range in the ultraviolet-visible region and photoresistance properties vary with the option selected, thus every method can be customized to the two major types of material production applications, colored products and opaque plastic nanocomposites. In colored products, the designated color in the final product will decide the type of coloring molecules utilized.
The second objective of the project is to improve the refractory properties of the nanofillers in order to make them to function simultaneously as flame-retardant and mechanical reinforcements. The novel nanofillers being synthesized can augment the material’s thermal stability, decrease smoke emission during combustion, and stop the drop in the mechanical properties produced by other fire retardant materials.
The insertion of the nanofillers to the composite also improves its permeation properties, paving the way to develop novel formulations with superior barrier properties against low-molecular-weight volatile organic molecules and gases. The project is slated for completion in December 2012.