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Partnership Focuses on R&D of Polymer NanocompositesPartnership Focuses on R&D of Polymer Nanocomposites

September 16, 2003

2 Min Read
Partnership Focuses on R&D of Polymer Nanocomposites

Originally Published MPMNSeptember 2003


Partnership Focuses on R&D of Polymer Nanocomposites


PNC-Tech members study some of the latest nanocomposite samples.

Melody Lee

The National Research Council Industrial Materials Institute (NRC-IMI; Boucherville, QC, Canada,www.cnrc-nrc.gc.ca) has launched an R&D initiative in partnership with 13 major companies. Known as PNC-Tech, the initiative plans to invest $300,000 a year in R&D focused on the development of polymer nanocomposites, which are plastic-based materials. 

The list of partnering companies ranges from manufacturers of compounds and polymers to end-users, and is expected to increase to include other companies and universities. Companies investing in the partnership will benefit from the research as they move to incorporate these high-performance materials in next-generation products.

"Nanotechnologies will play an important role in tomorrow's manufacturing industries," says Allan Rock, minister of industry and minister responsible for the National Research Council.

Polymer nanocomposites are plastic materials mixed with small amounts of clay, named as such because the clay must be mixed into the plastic at a nanometric scale. Specifically, a few molecules of clay are sandwiched between minuscule layers of plastics or polymers, resulting in a new material that adopts many properties including strength, resistance to permeability, and heat stability.

The processing, behavior, and performance of polymer nanocomposites are all areas that will be covered in the initial research being funded by PNC-Tech. Nanoparticle surface modification routes for specific applications will be studied, as well as the development of the melt blending process. 

"The partners decide the topic and goals of the research program, and the institute does the work," says Blaise Labrecque, business officer for NRC-IMI. "Once the research is performed internally, the results must be kept confidential for two years, but the partners can use the information on a privileged basis for R&D."

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