Exploiting Polymer Nanomaterials Technology for the U.S. Army's Objective Force

Report No. ARL-TR-2722
Authors: Sandra K. Young, Frederick L. Beyer, and Matthew S. Bratcher
Date/Pages: April 2002; 24 pages
Abstract: Many polymeric nanomaterials are being investigated for use in advanced clothing, sensor, actuators, medical technologies, and fuel-efficient energy systems among other Army needs. The U.S. Army Research Laboratory?s Weapons and Materials Research Directorate Polymers Research Branch has many programs directed toward advancing materials for these and other technologies. A few of these specific programs will be discussed in more detail in this report. Polymer-layered silicate nanocomposites are materials of compelling interest for Army applications. These materials offer the possibility of significantly improved physical properties with the addition of a small amount of inexpensive filler, but are not a mature technology because of critical gaps in the current understanding of their equilibrium behavior. One project, which attempts to address these gaps, is described. Carbon nanotubes have high potential payoffs in nanotechnology and are being investigated. Early efforts include quantification and functionalization of defect sights with polymers. Nafion perfluorosulfonate ionomers have shown usefulness in many areas including fuel cells, sensors, and actuators. Understanding the nature of the polymer structure, under what conditions the polymer structure can be changed, and whether the polymer structure can be controlled through modification are many of the important issues needing answers in order to have success in making nanoscopic structures within polymers. A variety of experiments have been done in order to unravel the complicated structure of the material.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: April 1, 2002