University of Massachusetts Lowell,
Keywords: nanomanufacturing, polymeric structures
Summary:Emerging technologies, materials, devices and structures will depend on advances in polymer nanomanufacturing processes, such as roll to roll printing or other additive manufacturing approaches. In spite of their processing ease, biocompatibility, biodegradability, and flexibility, opportunities for improved devices leveraging polymer materials are often overlooked. This work will present novel manufacturing approaches for the incorporation of nano/microscale functionality in polymer based materials. For example, nanomanufacturing can be used to create polymer substrates, inks, and fibers for additive manufacturing or flexible electronics. Substrate materials can include designer nanocomposites for better barrier, lighter weight and tailored properties (e.g. polymers with nanoclays, CNTs, silver nanoparticles, etc.) prepared using a commercially relevant continuous, twin-screw extrusion process. Multilayer films, with micro or nanolayers can be fabricated using a modified extrusion process for applications in optical films, barrier packaging and substrates. The surface energy of the substrate can be tailored to control ink behavior (wetting) by changing the surface structure and chemistry. Nano or micro-structured surfaces can be superhydrophobic over the entire surface or patterned to control surface energy in different locations. A nanoscale printing process can be used to assemble polymers or nanoparticles (conducting/nonconducting) (inks) into nanoscale patterns and transferred to a polymer substrate using the roll to roll process. Unique structures for flexible electronic devices, metamaterials, structural nanocomposites, or biomaterial applications can be fabricated. The environmental safety and health aspects will also be included.