Program 4: Polymer Sciences and Technology
i) Synthesis of Polymer and Composites
Polymer Science and Technology is an interdisciplinary unit involving research groups from the chemistry department, and chemical engineering, all of whom are involved research in polymer science and technology. This combination of people provides complementary expertise in polymer chemistry, physics and processing and current research programmes covers a wide range of polymer science and technology.
Polymer research in chemistry and chemical and materials engineering departments focus on fundamental studies of structure-property relationships for polymer materials of current and future importance, including controlled synthesis and processing, and effects of detailed chemical structure and nano- and macro-scale morphology on biological, chemical and physical properties.
The research is underpinned by a full range of modern analysis and characterization facilities that are described below the following list of polymer research themes.
ii) Polymer Research Activities
The polymer research activities are closely integrated and, for ease of reference, are grouped below into (mainly materials-based) themes, several of which are interrelated and encompass the research of different members of academic staff, both individually and in collaboration.
Many polymer research projects span several of these themes and topics are:
· Coatings and Films
· Deformation Micromechanics
· Multiphase Polymers
· Polymer Colloids
· Polymer Processing
iii) Polymer Nanocomposites
Nanotechnology is now recognized as one of the most promising areas for technological development in the 21st century. In materials research, the development of polymer nanocomposites is rapidly emerging as a multidisciplinary research activity whose results could broaden the applications of polymers to the great benefit of many different industries.
Polymer nanocomposites (PNC) are polymers (thermoplastics, thermosets or elastomers) that have been reinforced with small quantities (less than 5% by weight) of nano-sized particles.
These materials offer improvements over conventional composites in mechanical, thermal, electrical and barrier properties. Furthermore, they can reduce flammability significantly and maintain the transparency of the polymer matrix.
The special properties of polymer nanocomposites would expand the use of resins and blends manufactured by Saudi companies, particularly those based on polyolefins, styrenics, polyamides or polyesters such as SABIC (www.sabic.com) , NIC (http://www.nic.com.sa/) and AL-SAHRA (http://www.saharapcc.com/). Other PNC's may be based on thermosets, including epoxies, unsaturated polyesters and polyurethanes. And some faculty members of CEAM are involved polymers and resins reinforcement using nanoparticles.
iv) Polymers Additives
Building on our experience in the synthesis of novel high efficient ultraviolet absorbers in the past, we will design and synthesis novel organic ultraviolet absorbers based on novel Schiff bases and we will apply such absorbers on polymers such as Polyethylene used in the green houses which Saudi Arabia depend on for growing vegetables.
v) Conducting Polymers
Synthesis and characterization (Electrical, Dielectric, Thermal and Spectroscopic properties) Conjugated polymers are organic semiconductors having a framework of alternating single and double carbon-carbon bonds. These electrically conducting polymers have generated tremendous interest due to their potential application in batteries, electro chromic devices, sensors and light emitting diodes. Conducting polymers are the materials that combine the chemical and mechanical properties of the polymers with the electronic properties of metals and semiconductors. These polymers become conductive upon partial oxidation or reduction depending upon the doping level and the extent of doping. Among all the conductive polymers we are concerned with polyaniline, which is an important conductive polymer, having wide application in the area of recordable optical disks and sensors. It can also be used as an electrode material, electronic material and in microelectronics. Besides this, we are also working on one of the famous conductive polymers that is MEH-PPV ( Fig. 2) because of its promising application in light emitting devices, used in developing ultra thin flat panel displays for computer monitors and television sets.
The researchers in this field at CEAM, will be focused on synthesis of new conducting polymers, studying their properties and searching for potential applications such as OLEDs.
vi) Coating Technology
The major goal is to provide the coating and allied coating industry with a center where coatings would be researched and new concepts in powder coatings would be developed. In addition to new concept development, the center would also serve in a problem solving capacity, some of coating types are:
Design, characterization and optimization of surface coating systems including printing inks and paints.
Some research area which our coating team will be interested to search are :
Ultrasonic dispersion in pigment pastes and paints manufacturing .
Optimization of high gloss water-based paints.
Use and benefits of soft inclusions in paints.
Effects of substrate porosity on film formation.
Role of adhesion of organic coatings in corrosion protection.
Metallization of plastics and composites : deposition of colored and scratch resistant layers.
Surface modification of steel strips at the end of the continuous annealing.
Composite organic coatings: application to steel strips for the automotive sector.
Reducing stress for more durable coatings.
SiO-Grip - A new surface treatment for a better adhesion of coatings on galvanized steel.
New nano-structured waterborne coatings.
The future proposed work would cover:
Preparation of nanocoating for harsh environment in Saudi Arabia
Reinforcement of epoxy resin using TiO2 nanoparticles
Preparation of Self-Cleaning Coating formulation