Synthesize Polymer Fillers
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32 months ago
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Carbon black and Silica (SiO2) are common fillers in polymer composites. These materials offer high surface areas and the capability for good dispersion which yields significant improvements in polymer reinforcements.

The traditional process to create carbon black at nanoscale particle size is the incomplete combustion of a hydrocarbon; which is both energy and process intensive. For silica there are couple of common methods, one of which is to precipitate it from a vitreous silicate solution using sulfuric acid.


Propose an alternative method to produce carbon- or SiO2-based particles with Accessible Surface Areas in the range of 20-200 m2/gram, via size reduction, of common and/or inexpensive materials (coal, sand, biochar, waste streams, etc.). Be sure to include:

1) A description of your proposal via Word or PowerPoint

2) Estimated surface area and morphology of the new particles

3) Supporting references for your proposal


1) Accessible Surface Areas of the final product should be in the range of 20-200 m2/gram. Higher surface areas will be considered. (“Accessible Surface Area” is described as that surface of the particle that can be “wet” by polymer chains in a matrix)

2) The size, shape and structure (morphology) of commercial carbon black and silica can be described as networked aggregates of spheroidal nano particles that are fused together. Replicating such morphology is not a requirement, but a prediction of the final morphology should be made.

    Submissions will be graded on the following criteria:
  • Meets Deliverables
  • Creativity
  • Clarity
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