University of Lincoln, UK

Modelling of block copolymer–nano-particle hybrid materials

Status: 2009 – active

Support: EPSRC CASE, Chemistry Innovation KTN, Accelrys Ltd

Abstract:

Advanced Materials

Figure1. Building blocks, controlling factors, mechanisms and applications of soft nano-structured materials.

In this project we are aiming to develop methods for computer-assisted design of advanced soft nanostructured materials. This is a very fast growing field with applications in what is now called soft nano-technology. Functionality of these materials very strongly depends on their internal structure. To tailor a desired structure one needs to controllably manipulate their self-assembly.

Hybrid

Figure2. Schematic representation of the most simple structure - lamellar block copolymer morphology (black and gray stripes) with spherical nano-particles (blue circles).

That can be achieved by varying molecular properties, and processing conditions, Fig.1. Due to the intrinsic complexity of such materials, their computer-assisted design becomes a strategic priority in the field. We propose to investigate a hybrid soft nano-materials, which are composed of block copolymers with embedded nano-particles, Fig.2.

The main objective of the project is to understand the mechanisms of the structure formation in such hybrid materials and to identify key parameters for the structure manipulation.

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