Smart Composite Reinforced with Anisotropic Cellulose Particles
Dilatant composites are impact-reactive materials that can transition from a flexible to a highly rigid state under the stimulation of a force. The prepared composites demonstrate excellent rigidification against impacts but they may also contain toxic compounds. Together with the complex and low-efficient preparation process, commercialisation and application of these composites in textiles is difficult.
In this project, by dispersing a mixture of anisotropic cellulose particles and polydisperse silica spheres in poly(ethylene glycol), we aim to lower the composite density whilst maximise its rigidification. An ethanol-assisted mechanical milling method will be used to improve the dispersing efficiency and the dispersing stability of the particles in poly(ethylene glycol). Furthermore, we will optimise the rigidification of our composite by altering the weight fraction of the anisotropic particles. The effect of temperature and particle aspect ratio on the physical and rheological properties of the composite will be investigated, and the mechanism that accounts for the observed rigidification will be discussed. In the end, we will explore the areas of utilisation for our composite. This project covers the fundamentals for development of a lightweight, impact-reactive garment for next-generation body armour and sports clothing.
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