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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/S60532/01
Title: Carbon nanotube filled foams
Principal Investigator: Shaffer, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Dept of Chemistry
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: First Grant Scheme Pre-FEC
Starts: 01 March 2004 Ends: 28 February 2007 Value (£): 121,606
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Processing
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Chemicals Transport Systems and Vehicles
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The recent recognition of the nanotube as a new carbon allotrope that has aroused widespread interest. On the basis of some remarkable properties measured on individual, high-quality nanotubes, a wide range of applications have been suggested ranging from nanoelectronics to catalyst support materials. Which of these applications can be developed through to practical exploitation remains a subject of hot debate. However, one of the most promising areas is the use of nanotubes in polymer composite materials. Indeed, the biggest commercial use of nanotubes is currently their use as conductive fillers in automotive components; an application in which around a million kilos of filled compound are used each year. Research interest has mostly focussed on attempting to exploit the remarkable mechanical properties of individual nanotubes, particularly their uniquely high strength. However, there is an immediate opportunity to utilise existing, less crystalline but high volume nanotubes in applications where conventional fibre fillers cannot be physically accommodated. One particularly intriguing prospect, and one which has not yet been explored is the possibility of producing nanofibre filled foams.The purpose of this project is to investigate the inclusion of nanotubes in a range of polymer foam systems. There are fundamental questions to be answered concerning the interaction of a nanofiller with the foaming process which may allow new systems to be foamed or a finer cell structure to be produced. On the other hand, nanocomposite foams will have usefully improved mechanical, electrical and thermal properties through the formation of nanofibre-reinforced struts, electrically conductive networks, and the modification of optical absorption properties. Such modified foams are likely to be used in lightweight components for transport applications, leading fuel savings, as well as in electronics packaging.
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk