New materials with unique properties are made from assemblies of nano-or microparticles which are functionalized to facilitate their dispersion in a matrix or in a suspending medium, and to bring them a specific property in view of a given application. For instance, magnetic nano or microparticles are dispersed in a liquid to form a magnetorheological fluid whose viscosity can be greatly increased by applying a magnetic field. Also their dispersion in a polymerizable monomer gives rise to an elastomeric composite with mechanical or electrical properties which can be controlled by an external magnetic field. We are mainly studying the rheological properties of these materials.
Besides, new applications of these magnetic particles are developped such as their functionalisation to capture on their surface pollutants like metal ions or their use to destroy cancer cells. In other areas it is the inclusion of dye molecules in the channels of microfibers of clay that will create both a strengthening of polymer composites and color them in the bulk.The control of the aggregation of the nanoparticles and of their architecture before the drying stage as well as and their consolidation is also an important aspect of our research to strengthen the mechanical properties of some composites. The equipments of the technological platform Center for Micro & Nanorheometry are used for nanoparticle characterization and measurement of the rheological properties of these materials.
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