Published: September 2010
This report is an update of our earlier PEP report (PEP Report 51C) on polymer nanocomposites which was published in 2002. Development in polymer nanocomposites was at a relatively early stage with only a few commercial products by 2002 Most of the efforts were focused on clay-based nanoparticles. Since then the field of polymer nanocomposites has grown greatly. The progress in polymer nanocomposites has been wide and encompassed many different industries. New types of nanoparticles or nanofillers have been developed. Applications range from automotive, biological implants, packaging, aircraft components, etc. However, commercialization of many applications has taken longer than anticipated. There are still technological challenges to be overcome before widespread commercialization of polymer nanocomposites. The main barriers to overcome include cost and dispersion of the nanoparticles with the polymer matrix.
In this report, we will review the current state of polymer nanocomposites in terms of patent literatures, other scientific literature and commercialization activities. Nanofillers and polymer nanocomposites encompass a wide subject matter. The report will focus on nanoparticles and polymer nanocomposites that are already commercialized or have a commercialization potential. The commercial status, potential markets, and producers of polymer nanocomposites are discussed. Technological development in nanoparticles and polymer nanocomposites production will be reviewed. Nanoparticles or nanofillers reviewed in this report include clay-based nanoparticles such as montmorillonite and halloysite, carbon-based nanoparticles such as carbon nanotubes and graphene sheets, and other nanofillers such as nanosilica, metal oxide nanoparticles, polymeric nanoparticles and cellulose nanofibers.