ERJ staff report (DS)
Utrecht, Netherlands - The FOM Foundation is forming a partnership with Michelin, SKF and Dutch Polymer Institute (DPI) to gain a better fundamental understanding of how polymers are reinforced by adding fillers. The partners have signed a contract to fund a research programme to the tune of euro 1.6 million.
The aim of the research is to make a quantitative connection between the macroscale properties and performances of these reinforced materials and their structure at the molecular level.
Programme leader Professor Daniel Bonn from the University of Amsterdam is enthusiastic about the new Industrial Partnership Programme that has now been given the green light: "Although many researchers are or have been working on this problem, we have yet to gain a better understanding of the relationship between the microstructure and the mechanical properties. It's great that we can now use a large number of highly advanced image-processing techniques to try to establish a quantitative link between the micro- and macroscales for the first time. Achieving that really would be a significant breakthrough.
Rubber-silica reinforcement systems are easier to control and characterise than the old polymer-carbon black system. This has opened up possibilities for research into the various physical processes that underlie the reinforcement of polymers by fillers. The most important challenge is linking the microstructure of the filled polymer to the macroscopic (non-linear) elasticity of the materials.
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Press release from source