MSE Ph.D. Defense - Kesong Hu
Prof. Vladimir V. Tsukruk Advisor, MSE
Prof. Kyriaki Kalaitzidou, ME/MSE
Prof. Satish Kumar, MSE
Prof. Zhiqun Lin, MSE
Prof. Eric Vogel, MSE
Title: Ultra-Robust Graphene-Biopolymer Nanocomposites and Their Electrical Applications
This study is focused on the fundamental principles of fabricating polymer nanocomposite materials and optimizing their structural and functional properties. The status of the research on polymer nanocomposites has been critically reviewed and the motivation and challenges to develop ultra-robust, functional nanocomposite films are presented. Biopolymers, such as silk fibroin (SF) and cellulose nanocrystals (CNC), and graphene oxide (GO) are chosen as the model system to investigate the optimized interfacial interactions between biomacromolecules and the heterogeneous, most widely available graphene derivative.
Two different aspects of the polymer nanocomposites were the focus of this study with multiple examples presented: 1) the mechanical enhancement by the synergistic reinforcement between the nanofiller and polymer matrix, and 2) the effective improvement of electrical properties of the graphene oxide component in the nanocomposite for electrical and functional applications. We suggest that the understanding of the integration of biopolymers and graphenes using versatile assembly techniques and the successive chemical modification of the electrical properties of the nanocomposite discussed in this study can be important for tackling the challenges faced by the employment of flexible and robust structural and bio-microelectronic materials.