Fundamental aspects and recent progress on wear/scratch damage in polymer nanocomposites

Published on Jan 15, 2009in Materials Science & Engineering R-reports
· DOI :10.1016/J.MSER.2008.10.001
Aravind Dasari41
Estimated H-index: 41
(USYD: University of Sydney),
Zhong-Zhen Yu61
Estimated H-index: 61
(Huada: Beijing University of Chemical Technology)
+ 0 AuthorsYiu-Wing Mai112
Estimated H-index: 112
(USYD: University of Sydney)
It is realized that the addition of a small percentage of rigid nanoparticles to polymers significantly improves many of their mechanical properties, especially stiffness and strength. Such improvements are often attributed to the availability of large numbers of nanoparticles with huge interfacial areas compared to their macro- and micro-scale counterparts. In particular, from the tribological viewpoint, the small size of nanoparticles with homogenous dispersion in the matrix and good interfacial adhesion between nanoparticles and matrix are thought to be necessary requirements for a polymer nanocomposite. Material removal will be less since the nano-additives have similar sizes to the segments of surrounding polymer chains. Despite these positive effects due to the addition of nanoparticles, there are still some critical questions that are unanswered. Here, we review the fundamentals, recent progress and advances that have been made on the tribological aspects of polymer nanocomposites, particularly focusing on their wear (in dry sliding and unlubricated conditions) and scratch damage. The review shows that (a) it is not valid to assume that nano-fillers always improve wear/scratch (and friction) properties; and (b) material properties like modulus, hardness, fracture toughness or extent of wear rate or scratch penetration depth are not the sole indicators to compare and/or rank candidate materials. Several facets of wear/scratching or material response to the sliding processes require thorough understanding in order to determine parameters that control the surface integrity and material removal from polymer nanocomposites. This review also shows the apparent contradictions and false impressions on several material systems in many studies owing to poor characterizations of polymer nanocomposites and lack of quantitative descriptions of the observed phenomena.
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