Nanomaterials and Graphene

Nanotechnology has become one of the scientific and technological fields with greater activity and interest from the industrial point of view in recent years. The origins of nanotechnology are traced back to 1959, when the Nobel Prize in Physics, Richard Feynman, established the basic ideas and concepts of nanotechnology.

Currently there is a worldwide broad consensus that nanotechnology will lead to a second industrial revolution in the XXI century. It is supported by renowned research centers as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, in USA), government initiatives as National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI, in USA) or the recent European Union initiative Graphene Flagship (Future Emerging Technology Flagship). In all cases it is considered that nanotechnology has the potential to deeply change our economy and way of life.

Nanotechnology is the ability to measure, manipulate, arrange, understand, manufacture and control of matter at the nanoscale, between 1 and 100 nanometers (nm), where take place unique and interesting phenomena/behaviors that enable to obtain new applications or to improve already existing applications. It’s difficult to imagine how small this scale is, so here there are some examples to clarify:

  • A sheet of paper is about 100.000 nm thick

  • Ant size is about 4.000.000 nm

Our main goals are the development of new products and the performances improvement of already existing products using nanomaterials. We try to transfer the excellent and unique properties of nanomaterials in commercial products. Our work has been focused on the development of new composite/nanocomposite materials (mainly with an inorganic matrix like cement or a polymeric matrix) with new and better performances, tailored and multifunctional.

Our work about graphene has been focused on the synthesis and manufacture of the product in order to reduce costs and to optimize the process. Currently, we are beginning to work on different applications such as the development of polymer nanocomposites and wastewater treatment systems.

Specialization and Technologies:

  • Advanced technologies for the dispersion of fillers/additives/nanomaterials within different media:

  •      Organics: polymer, resins, paints, varnishes, pastes, creams, solvents,…

  •      Inorganics: cements, lubricants, water,…

  • Functionalization and surface treatment of nanomaterials through chemical processes + spray drying.

  • Development of graphene and its derivatives, and graphene nanocomposites

  • Characterization of nanomaterials using atomic force microscopy (AFM).

  • Manufacturing capabilities of composite and nanocomposite materials.

 Equipment

  • Atomic Force Microscope (AFM): High resolution technique for analysis of materials at nanometric scale. Morphological characterization through images, topography analysis, electrical, magnetic, thermal and mechanical properties. Nanolithography.

  • Three Roll Mill: High shear forces technique for the dispersion of nanomaterials into different media.

  • Mini Spray Dryer Advanced technique of drying. Microencapsulation of materials, atomization of liquids, production of solid particles at microscale, transformation of liquids (solutions, emulsions) into dry micro powder, dispersion of nanomaterials into microparticles, etc.

  • Ultrasound homogenizer: Dispersion of nanomaterials in different liquid media.