Deadlines, (NANOTECHNOLOGY '09), Cambridge, UK, February 21-23, 2009

Plenary Lecture

Field Assisted Processing of Polymer Nanocomposites with Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes and Nanofibres

Professor Jose M. Kenny

European Centre for Nanostructured Polymers
University of Perugia, Loc. Pentima Bassa 21, 05100 Terni-Italy

Abstract: Light nanocomposite materials with exceptional mechanical and electronic properties can be made using different type of reinforcements and polymer matrices. In particular, carbon nanotubes (CNT), and more recently Carbon nanofibres (CNF) have been studied extensively because of their exceptional mechanical and electrical properties, yet their practical and extensive use in commercial materials is still missing. The utilization of CNTs and CNFs as reinforcement to design novel composites has been object of many different approaches in the last 10 years; however, there is a lack of a knowledge based approach to achieve the nanostructuration level required to optimize the CNT(CNF)/polymer composite performances.
Currently, carbon nanoobjects are incorporated within the polymer matrix by mixing into the polymer, dispersion in solution or melt processing. However, these methodologies present several critical issues as for example the non-uniform dispersion of nanoreinforcements within the polymer matrix and the lack of control of the alignment or orientation of CNTs and CNFs in the resulting composites. Generally, it is difficult to disperse well a relative high concentration of these nanoobjects into the polymer precursors because of the viscosity of the polymers and the entanglement of the nanotubes.
The challenge for the next future is to get innovative polymer composites filled with CNTs and CNFs in order to obtain nanostructured materials with tailor made properties. For example, the isotropic conductivity of the composites is not necessary in some cases. For instance, it is demanded that the electron charge can penetrate the antistatic shielding film as soon as possible. The conductivity perpendicular to the film surface should be as high as possible but the lateral conductivity is not important—perfect conductivity along one axis is enough to satisfy the application.
Our goal is to investigate the effects of electric and magnetic fields on the physical properties of nanotube based nanocomposites under static loading conditions. We report here our results for different matrices: poly(methyl methacrylate), epoxy systems, block copolymers loaded with carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofibres. The influence of orientation on the electrical anisotropy as well as the role played by the magnetic field on the rheological properties is also reported. These results provide an initial understanding of how electric and magnetic fields can be used to control the bulk physical properties of such nanocomposites.

Brief Biography of the Speaker:
Professor Jose M. Kenny was born in 1953 in Buenos Aires (Argentina), where he got his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of South (Bahia Blanca). He is currently Full Professor of Material Science and Technology at the University of Perugia, where he also teaches Polymer Technology and Materials Nanotechnology. Moreover, Prof. Kenny is the Director of the International PhD Program on Materials Nanotechnology coordinated by the University of Perugia in collaboration with several European Universities and is the Director of the European Master on Polymer Nanotechnology organized by the University of Perugia. Both programs are supported by the European Network of Excellence "NANOFUN-POLY" coordinated by Prof. Kenny through the Italian Consortium on Materials Science and Technology (INSTM). Recently, Prof. Kenny has been nominated President of the European Centre on Nanostructured Polymers legally constituted in Florence with the support of 12 European Research Centres (
During his career Prof. Kenny has been visiting and research professor in the following universities: University of Naples (1984-1991), University of Connecticut: (1989) University of Washington (1990), Washington University of Saint Louis (1991). He has published more than 300 papers in the scientific literature on the following subjects: mathematical modelling of the processing of composites and polymers, materials for aerospace applications and automotive applications, mathematical modelling of reactive processes, interfaces and surface treatments on polymeric, metallic, ceramic and composite materials; nanotechnologies of polymeric materials, processing and characterization of carbon nanotubes and of their polymer nanocomposites. Moreover, Prof. Kenny has directed more than 100 theses in Materials Engineering and 15 PhD theses on Industrial Engineering and Materials Nanotechnology.
Prof. Kenny has coordinated several Italian and international research projects is member of several scientific societies and is currently Past-President of the SAMPE Europe (Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering) and Vice-president of SAMPE Italy. Recently, Prof. Kenny has been elected member of the Board of the Italian Industrial Association of Composite Materials.




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