One of the toughest challenges for realizing the novel properties of nanoparticles is the difficulty of maintaining the nanoparticles as discrete particles. Nanoparticles have a tendency to agglomerate and form large particles that frequently no longer exhibit the properties associated with their small constituent nanoparticles. There are methods to avoid the agglomeration of nanoparticles through surface chemistry and modification processes, however, a problem with many of these methods is that they are expensive to operate and difficult to implement on an industrial scale. Furthermore such methods often require hazardous and polluting solvents. A key reason for this difficulty is that the particle modification step is often implemented in an additional and separate process to the manufacture of the nanoparticles. In the view of a scale up production of various nanoparticle systems flame spray pyrolysis offers new opportunities for the synthesis of particles with complex functionalities.
This project aims to develop technology towards a novel process for coating nanoparticles with a polymer layer in order to prevent agglomeration and enable straight-forward integration into plastics and real-life downstream manufacturing such as plastic injection molding. This novel process aims to perform this coating step directly in the gas-phase nanoparticles manufacturing process step, thereby allowing straight-forward operation and scale-up, avoiding the need for separate and expensive process steps and cost-effectively producing a form of nanoparticles with greatly enhanced functionality and demanded market price.
What is special about the project?
The support of Gebert Rüf Stiftung enables new ways to synthesize the envisioned modified complex nanoparticles in a flame spray pyrolysis process which opens up a broad range of new, so far unknown applications. The supported project is in close collaboration with the Swiss based start up company HeiQ Materials and will help to extent and intensify the collaboration of this young company with the FHNW. Furthermore this project enables FHNW to gain further knowledge in the area of the flame spray pyrolysis process which might be applicable to other particle systems.
In the frame of the project "Direct Coating of Flame-Made Nanoparticles" funded by Gebert Rüf Stiftung lab scale FSP apparatus was constructed by the project partners HeiQ Materials and FHNW School of Life Sciences in Muttenz. Successful particle synthesis by the Flame spray process could be demonstrated. The system was further optimized due to the introduction of a new nozzle and gas feed system in order to gain a better combustion process and a more even flame.
In a second step a new extraction nozzle system has been constructed and implemented in the FSP apparatus allowing the post synthetic coating of the FSP particles with an organic functionality which is otherwise impossible because of the high temperature of the combustion process leading to fully inorganic particles only. The new system could be successfully demonstrated, by the synthesis of amino functionalized particles. The concentration of the amino groups obtained was very good and clearly demonstrated the successful function principle. The system and the process parameters will be further optimized and other organic precursors will be tested in order to adapt the particle functionality to the desired application requirements and explore the capabilities of the new system. Due to the funding by the Gebert Rüf Stiftung, a new coating apparatus and synthetic procedure was developed in course of the proposed project. This will allow the synthesis of new classes of multifunctional and more complex nanomaterials with tailored properties opening up new fields of applications. In addition to that the developed technology is applicable to scale up of already produced nanomaterials and will reduce production costs, because of simplified synthetic procedures.
The project described above led to a very intensive collaboration with the company HeiQ Materials and was the basis for several follow up projects already started.
Because the development will be performed in collaboration with the young start up company HeiQ Materials, the outcome of the project might lead to joined patents, rather then publications.
Persons involved in the project
Last update to this project presentation 24.07.2018