The key to the successful use of carbon nanoparticles (e.g. carbon nanotubes (CNTs) or graphene) as fillers in composite materials (metals, ceramic and polymers) is to functionalize the surface of these particles. Non-functionalized carbon nanoparticles are often insufficiently compatible with the matrix material. This prevents their excellent properties from being fully transferred to the matrix material. Enhanced properties, such as the mechanical reinforcement of the matrix material, are only partially transferred. Through functionalization, particles bond better with the matrix material, display better wettability properties and are distributed more uniformly in the matrix material. Layers (e.g. titanium dioxide) also protect against thermal and mechanical stress when particles are processed in production. Consequently, the use of coated CNTs in metallic composites (e.g. with aluminium as a matrix material) enables their properties to be enhanced way beyond those of non-coated CNTs.
IPA develops tailored solutions adapted to specific matrix materials. We first determine the synthesis method and then implement it on a laboratory scale. In this way, the customer is informed about the approximate quantities and purities that are achievable on an industrial scale.