- Prof. Vladimir V. Tsukruk, Advisor, MSE
- Dhriti Nepal, Ph.D., Air Force Research Labs
- Prof. Satish Kumar, MSE
- Prof. Kyriaki Kalaitzidou, ME/MSE
- Luke Henderson, Ph.D., Deakin University
Nanoscale Characterization of Hierarchical, Natural and Synthetic Low-Dimensional Composites
Low-dimensional nanocomposites are promising material composites for use as high-performance materials due to their unique strength-to-weight ratios and multifunctional properties. Their application fields are diverse, acting as structural materials in lightweight electronics, defense systems, or health care devices, or as biosensors and energy storage devices. However, these low-dimensional nanocomposites have yet to reach their ultimate performance due to a gap in fundamental understanding of nanofiller intercalation mechanisms and the ultimate role of chemistry-structure-property relationships. This work will focus on the chemical and structural changes in nanocomposite systems with the introduction of nanofillers, revealing the intercalation mechanisms and role of chemistry and structure in influencing the final properties.
The first task aims to understand how nanofiller content intercalates with one-dimensional cellulose nanocrystals to create an entirely natural, bio-based nanocomposite, and reveal the critical limit to nanofiller integration and correlating the resulting structural and chemistry changes to the optical and mechanical performance. The second task aims to uncover what unique structural formations exist on carbon fiber surfaces, revealing how nanostructures increase mechanical performance in synthetic composites. Finally, the third task unveils how two-dimensional architecture and chemistry, for graphene oxide and MXene nanoflakes, alters the mechanical, electrostatic, chemical, and morphological properties of synthetic nanocomposites.
This work will inspire the optimal design of low-dimensional nanocomposites, demonstrating how to achieve enhanced mechanics while sustaining or enhancing the optical or conducting properties. These studies provide a framework for understanding the intercalation and absorbing mechanisms of nanocomposites and which aspects can be tailored for ultimate property control.