TIAM Seminar – Hybrid Polymer Blend Nanocomposites for Electrical, Charge Storage, ESD and EMI Shielding Applications

September 6, 2019 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Speaker: Uttandaraman Sundararaj

Affiliation: Professor, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Calgary
Location: Mechanical Engineering Building, 5 King’s College Rd, Room MC331
Date: Friday, Sep 6, 2019
Time: 2 pm – 3 pm


Abstract: Our research focus is the creation of novel multiphase polymer materials, namely multi-component polymer blends and polymer nanocomposites (polymers with nanofillers). Polymer nanocomposites have unique multifunctional properties resulting from the size and shape of the fillers and display superior electrical, thermal and mechanical properties to conventional polymer composites due to the nanoscale size of the filler.  By controlling the nanostructure of the fillers and the microstructure of the polymer composite, we can tailor specific properties. Multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNT), Silver and MnO2 nanowires, and MXene were melt-mixed with polymers via solution mixing and in miniature mixers, and electrical and mechanical properties were tested. Our group spans the entire materials development spectrum: (i) synthesis of nanofiller and copolymers, (ii) blending polymers with nanofiller to obtain desired morphology, (iii) development of miniature mixers for small scale (1g) and (iv) characterizing final properties. The electrical, mechanical and rheological properties of these materials were studied and evaluated for industrial applications such as personal electronics enclosures, shielding for aerospace, batteries and anti-static packaging. The morphology of the polymer nanocomposites was designed to have a unique segregated network structures that helped to significantly lower the electrical percolation threshold and increase electromagnetic shielding properties for applications such as cell phone and laptop enclosures. Hybrid filler systems of Cu nanowire and carbon nanotubes in PS indicated that there is an optimum nanofiller ratio for best electrical properties, e.g. extremely low electrical percolation thresholds lower than 0.0005 volume fraction.

(a)                                         (b)

Fig 1. Synthesizing carbon nanotube structure with (a) perfect crystalline structure suitable for EMI shielding and(b) defective structure suitable for charge storage applications.

Brief Biography: Uttandaraman (U.T.) Sundararaj is Professor in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Calgary for the last decade. Previously, he was Professor at the University of Alberta for 12 years and worked 4 years in R&D with the General Electric Company. He received his PhD from the University of Minnesota (1994) and his BSc from University of Alberta (1989), both in Chemical Engineering. Dr. Sundararaj’s main research interests are in polymer blend and nanocomposite structure generation, modeling of polymer processes, and hybrid polymer nanocomposites using novel nanomaterials, particularly for electrical and EMI shielding applications. His group has created custom-designed miniature melt mixers and synthesizes novel nanofillers in-house. He has published over 200 refereed publications. He received the International Polymer Processing Society’s Morand Lambla Award (2003), the Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship (2006), the Killam Annual Professorship (2012), and the NSERC Accelerator Research Award (2015) for demonstrated excellence in research. He is a fellow of the Society of Plastics Engineers (2018), the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers (2008), the Chemical Institute of Canada(2018) and the Engineering Institute of Canada (2019). He has given over fifty plenary and keynote presentations at major national and international conferences. He has received several teaching awards, including the Rutherford Award (2005)—the highest teaching honor at the Univ. of Alberta, Excellence in Education Award (2007) from APEGA, the Medal of Distinction for Engineering Education (2008) from Engineers Canada, the 3M National Teaching Fellowship (2010), CIC Chemical Education Award (2014) and recently has twice won the University’s Student Union Teaching Award (2016, 2018, 2019) and the Teaching Award for Educational Leadership (2019).

Prof. Uttandaraman Sundararaj’s lecture is hosted by the Toronto Institute for Advanced Manufacturing as part of the Distinguished Speaker Seminars.

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