Nanocomposite Materials

The development of low-cost, lightweight metal-matrix, glass-matrix, and epoxy-matrix nanocomposites may provide enormous benefits to the automotive and aerospace industries in terms of the fuel efficiency. The utilization of lightweight composites instead of, for example, heavy metals is advantageous to the overall reduction of vehicle weight. Revolutionary and evolutionary advancements in science and technologies of such composites could lower price of the vehicle, while also lowering the carbon dioxide emissions and reducing the fuel cost. In our lab we are exploring solutions to increase the mechanical properties (wear resistance, shear resistance, fracture toughness, strength, elasticity, etc.) of the lightweight composites by the incorporation of high strength ceramic nanowires (NWs) into various matrix materials. We recently demonstrated a low-cost synthesis of ceramic nanowires with high aspect ratios of ≈ 1,000 and small diameters of less than 50 nm by a revolutionary low-cost, near room-temperature, atmospheric pressure process.