Nanostructured organic-inorganic hybrid for protective surface coatings

Research area: Polymer science and nanomaterials
Supervisors: Prof Naba Dutta and Prof Namita Roy Choudhury

Aim: To develop multifunctional organic-inorganic hybrid coating

Description: Polymer based protective coatings are attractive options for outdoor applications due to their excellent properties and unlimited possibility of tailoring their chemical, physical and processing behaviour to meet the demand. Protective coatings guard the substrate by providing a tough protective shield that can lock out destructive elements and keeping it resilient and durable. Polymer based seal/coating thus can provide economical way to improve the appearance of the surface while maintaining the investment.

As the replacement of solvent based system continues in order to minimize air pollution, aqueous coating compositions having unique and useful balance of dried film properties are in great demand. Future protective coating must provide better coating performance in lower film thickness, lower baking temperature and lower VOC (volatile organic compound) emission. In order to render a polymer as smart protective coating materials for future, they must typically be engineered at a molecular level. This has led to a demand for better polymer material and understanding of the factors that influence the interfacial properties of a coating material. The development of new chemical structure, creating novel interfaces and new crosslinking mechanism is one of the primary variables in making such novel water-bourne coating/sealers. The goal of this project is to develop water-bourne multifunctional organic-inorganic hybrid coating using simple but novel nanoscience approach.
This proposal represents a novel concept for designing high stiffness and high toughness polymeric sealer/coating based on acrylic copolymers/polyurethane containing crosslinkable functional groups as the base material. Nano-structured material engineering approach will be employed to create designed interface to open up the possibility of significant enhancement of the macroscopic properties, which is almost impossible or difficult to achieve by traditional methods.

The macroscopic properties of a hybrid are governed by the rule of mixture, which fails when interfacial interactions between components begin to affect global properties. As the length scale of the component phases approach a few nanometer range; the expected global properties will be predominantly affected by strong interfacial interactions rather than by bulk phase properties. Tailoring the surface structure on a nanometer scale can dramatically alter the macroscopic properties of a coating such as film strength modulus and delamination rate.

The acrylic polymer/copolymers based system and waterborne polyurethane systems will be prepared. Various novel approaches of crosslinking will be employed to create desirable interfacial interaction followed by characterization. The detail characteristics of the coating in nano, micro and macro levels will be evaluated using a wide range of techniques

The phase behaviour, flow property, film properties, cure characteristics, barrier properties and mechanical behaviour of the films will be evaluated in detail. Viscoelastic behaviour, films, stability and environmental aging behaviour of the coating will also be evaluated in a view to predict the lifetime of the coating. The structure-property-performance relationship will be established.

*Funding: An Australian Postgraduate Award (Industry) is available to support this project. Only Australian citizens, or permanent residents of Australia, are eligible to apply.

Areas of study and research

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