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Polymer – Quasicrystal Composite Materials


Polymer-Quasicrystal Composite Materials with Advanced Physical-Mechanical and Tribological Properties

Tech Area / Field

  • MAT-COM/Composites/Materials

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Tyurin I A

Leading Institute
MISIS (Steel and Alloys), Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov


  • Frenzelit-Werke GmbH & Co. KG, Germany, Bad Berneck

Project summary

The Project is aimed at the development of a new class of polymer-based composites reinforced with quasicrystalline fillers. Quasicrystalline Al-Cu-Fe and Al-Cu-Cr fillers will be synthesized using mechanical alloying of elemental powders. The mechanochemical technology for the surface modification of quasicrystalline fillers will be developed to improve filler-to-matrix adhesion. The use of intrinsically low-temperature technology allows us to obtain new polymer-based composites with unique combination of physical, mechanical and tribological properties.

The purpose of the Project is to combine two novelties, namely a new material class, quasicrystalline phases, and an unusual technology, mechanochemical synthesis, and whereby to gain new composite materials with advanced performance.

It is suggested using powder Al-Cu-Fe and Al-Cu-Cr quasicrystalline phases as reinforcing fillers. Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWP) and polypropylene are to be used as matrices.

The Project’ applicants are well experienced in the production of composites. MISA team developed the mechanochemical technology for the synthesis of quasicrystals and recently produced aluminium-based and rubber-based composites reinforced with quasicrystalline fillers. VNIIEF is experienced in the development and implementation of high performance polypropylene-based composites.

The project is directed on practical realization of the results, which have been recently obtained by the participants: the polymer-based composite material with the extremely low factor of dry friction 0.03 has been synthesized. Solution of the problems in this project will allow us to understand regularities of the observed phenomenon and define a range of materials where it can be realized. The Project has significant commercial potential, since the results gained can be disseminated in many industries to produce various heavily loaded parts with increased service life period, such as sliding bearings, rotary seals, gears, etc.

The Project provides Russian weapon scientists and engineers an opportunity to redirect their talents to peaceful activities. The Project is devoted to the research in the most advanced class of materials, that means that the Project promotes integration of Russian scientists into the international scientific community. The production cost reduction, which is one of the purposes of the Project, contributes to transition to the market-based, civil needs oriented economics.

The task of producing the powder quasicrystalline fillers of Al-Cu-Fe and Al-Cu-Cr systems will be solved within the Project. A sequence of phase and structure transformations will be established. The routes for the powder particle surface modification by means of mechanochemical treatment will be studied. This includes the coating of powder particles with surfactants to improve filler-to-matrix adhesion. The mechanochemical technology for the formation of quasicrystalline-polymer powder composites will be developed. Composites with various filler content will be produced to determine the influence of filler content on strength and other mechanical properties.

The optimal compaction technological parameters (temperature, load, exposure time) will be determined for bulk composites. The structure of bulk composites will be investigated using optical microscopy and SEM. Physical, mechanical and tribological characteristics of bulk composites will be studied for various composite compositions (filler content and the type of matrix) and compaction regimes. MISA team contributes to the Project with: mechanical alloying and heat treatment to produce quasicrystals; mechanochemical formation of quasicrystalline-polymer powder composites and their compaction to produce bulk composites; study of structure and phase transformations using various structural and thermal analyses; characterisation of physical, mechanical and tribological characteristics of bulk composites. VNIIEF team contributes to the Project with: compaction of powder composites, including explosion compaction; construction of moulds for compaction and purposely designed tools for mechanical testing and characterisation of physical properties; construction of mechanochemical reactors and vessels; heat treatment under controlled atmosphere; optimisation of technological regimes for the bulk composites production.

The co-operation with Foreign Collaborator will include: information exchange at all stages of project realization; discussion of technical reports; testing of the materials obtained; Organization of joint workshops and seminars; preparation of joint publications. Foreign Collaborator is interested in implementation of the results obtained during the Project accomplishment. Foreign Collaborator permanently controls the progress of the Project organizing mutual visits and e-mail exchange of information. Foreign Collaborator contributes in patenting and implementation of materials developed.

Quasicrystalline phases are promising reinforcing fillers for polymer-based composites due to the unique combination of physical and mechanical properties characteristic for quasicrystals. Quasicrystals will be synthesized from elemental powders using the mechanochemical technology recently developed by the Project’ applicants. Mechanochemical techniques will be also applied to produce quasicrystalline-polymer powder composites. The structural and phase state of synthesized powders will be monitored by X-ray diffractometry. The interaction of polymers and quasicrystals will be investigated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) to optimize compaction regimes. Physical, mechanical and tribological characteristics of bulk composites will be studied for various composite compositions (filler content and the type of matrix) and compaction regimes. The creep testing of materials developed will be performed to predict the long-term mechanical behaviour under loading. The tribological characteristics of composites will be tested in a laboratory using the equipment allowing simulation of real working conditions. Various testing procedures will help to select optimal compositions and recommend them for the industrial scale production.


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