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Engineering of special materials (CT2)

Research program: Research and Development of Polymer Composites

Research team

The Advanced Technologies Based on Polymer Materials Group

is mainly concerned with using polymers in fuel cells and with production of polymeric nanocomposite hydrogels with unique properties. The R&D activities are mainly focused on:

  • Creation of a theoretical model of interconnected transport processes in a fuel cell based on both precise experiments on commercially produced fuel cells and a mathematical model of a mixture consisting of ionized substances that chemically react.
  • Physical and chemical analysis of membranes after a long-term operation (several thousand hours) and evaluation of their structural and chemical degradation.
  • Designs of new membrane geometry and electrodes for fuel cells.
  • A theoretical analysis and numerical modelling of physical-chemical and energy processes, such as diffusion of hydronium ions, water and electric current. Verification of the created theoretical model of physical-chemical processes on materials made in-house. Modelling of operational characteristics of fuel cells.

Currently, we are concerned with:

  • A theoretical description of the thermodielectric effect and new ways of measuring this phenomenon by means of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy.
  • Assembling instruments for precisely measuring the properties of fuel cells and their individual components.
  • Preparation of polymer membranes and hydrogels and applying modern methods for testing their properties.


The Inorganic Binders Group

has been involved in long-term development and testing of aluminosilicate binders (geopolymer matrices) with various proportions of selected fillers. The R&D of these special granular composites is focused on:

  • The influence of parameters of input components on properties of aluminosilicate paste (namely on the reactivity, solubility and solidification time) during the gelation process.   
  • Investigation of the influence of chemical composition on the output mechanical characteristics (namely the bending strength and compression strength).
  • Investigation of suitable granulometric composition of fillers in order to achieve optimal processing conditions and obtain a composite with usable technical parameters. 
  • Development and identification of composite material resistant to cyclic temperatures and long-term thermal exposure.
  • Characterisation of input raw materials and study of the determined parameters and their effect on the output engineering properties of aluminosilicate binders (titration of water-glass, reactivity determined by the Chapelle test). 

Currently, we are concerned with:

  • Investigating the kinetics of the gelation process of aluminosilicate binders (DSC, ARES G2).
  • Thermal degradation stability of selected materials (TG).
  • Study of temperature-dependent dynamic-mechanical properties (DMA, TMA).
  • Development of modified temperature-resistant aluminosilicate binders.
  • Improvement of the electrical resistance heating method used for hardening.


The Thermal Analysis Group

deals with investigation and experiments in the field of polymer materials (such as hydrogels, nanocomposite structures, membranes and polymer composites), aluminosilicate binders and other materials. The group’s activities are aimed at a wide range of applications, for example, new composite materials and polymer materials with special properties, inorganic binders for technical purposes and fuel cells.    

Instrumentation:

  • MTGA – Thermogravimetric Analyser Q500.
    A modular thermogravimetric analyser is used to measure temperature-dependent weight losses of materials. It is able to determine the thermooxidative degradation kinetics of polymers, non-burnable remains and so on.
  • MDSC – Differential Scanning Calorimeter Q200
    A modular differential scanning calorimeter is used to measure the temperature capacity of materials and its temperature dependency. For example, it is able to determine both the glass transition of an unknown polymer by means of the DSC curve and  the polymer composition by means of tables.
  • DMA – Dynamic Mechanical Analyser Q800
    A dynamic mechanical analyzer, equipped with grips, can be used to measure the elastic and loss modulus of materials depending on temperature and frequency of load. It can also be used to measure material creep and stress relaxation, loss angle, etc.  It is possible to monitor relaxation phenomena, HDT, penetration, softening point and other phenomena. 
  • MTMA – Thermomechanical Analyser Q400
    With silica disks, the modular thermomechanical analyzer measures, for example, the coefficient of linear thermal expansion, temperature of melting, softening point, glass transition temperature, delamination and creep. It is possible to measure solid specimens, films, fibers and powders.
  • ARES G2 –Rotary Rheometer
    A rotary rheometer is used for rotary rheological measurements of liquids, torsion tests of solid specimens, measuring rheological properties of materials and dielectric rheological analysis of the hardening process in polymers. 

Currently, we are concerned with:

  • Thermal degradation and stability of modified, intercalated  and clay nanocomposites (TGA).
  • Measuring the hardening kinetics of inorganic binders (DSC).
  • Measurement of temperature dilatometry in selected ceramic bodies.
  • Measuring the rheological properties of inorganic pastes and the study of the hardening process in sol-gel systems (ARES).
  • Characterisation of inorganic composites depending on the dynamic-mechanical values (DMA).

 

Topical invited lectures

 

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