Heterogeneous polymer systems: polymer blends and dispersion of nano-fillers

There have been two major activities in this scientific activity of the lab: polymer blends and polymer foaming. 

On the applicative side, blending presents several benefits among which improvement of processing capabilities or potential discovery of new properties compromise that cannot be reached otherwise. Our aim is to perform breakthrough in the control of the morphologies and nano-structuration of polymer blends, with an emphasis on systems with tuned hydrogen bond interactions, Polymer/nanofiller blends or polymer/solvent blends and more recently on gas permeation through polymer materials. We developed both the experimental and theoretical approaches which are required to finely understand the balance between molecular interactions and processing issues on the development of morphologies and structuration in blends. This research axis is essential to realize model systems for the above projects and can be considered as transversal. 

Foams are interesting solutions to provide the market with lighter materials. The methodology developed in the laboratory uses chemical reactions that create CO2 while the materials is processed. As in the blend case presented above, we want to push further the use of processing capabilities as “intelligent chemical reactors” where physical chemistry takes place. Indeed while the materials are being processed, they can change in composition, rheology, morphology and mechanical properties. Within this research activity we want to push further our understanding of the process<->structure relationship. 

Our work within this context has been validated by two patents on our foaming technique and one publication.