Understanding Graphene/Polyamide Nanocomposites

Hello, I’m Jing Ye, a rising junior physics major. My research with Dr. Schniepp in Nanomaterials and Imaging Lab this summer will focus on interfacial characterization of graphene/polyamide nanocomposites – studying them on a nanoscopic scale may help us understand why the nanocomposite could be the most promising material of the century.

Polyamide (PA), known as nylon, is a common material we cannot be more familiar with. It has characteristics such as great durability, abrasion resistance, strength and so on. As for graphene, which caught scientists’ attention after the announcement of 2010 Nobel Prize, it is the material that is able to strengthen PA. Graphene is the strongest material the world has ever known – more than 300 times as strong as A36 steel. More impressively, it has a height of about 1 nm, as it is a single layer of carbon. Scientists have found many possibilities of application regarding graphene/PA nanocomposites. However, I, just as many other researchers, hope to understand why and how the PA is changed by the graphene by seeing how incorporating graphene changes the surfaces of both graphene and PA and what outcome is brought by the interaction between two.

To “see” the interface of graphene/PA, something our eyes cannot possibly detect, I will need to use Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). The equipment allows me see something as small as a few nanometers. The figure below shows some graphene oxide particles lying on a piece of mica.

I cannot wait to find out more about graphene/PA nanocomposites. If you are interested in my research, or simply graphene and graphene/PA nanocomposites, please do not hesitate to contact me!

Graphene Oxide on Mica

Graphene Oxide on Mica