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  Journal of Nanoscience Letters 2012, 2: 12
  Review Article
Reinforcement of macromolecular systems by nanofillers: A review on rheological mesomodels
  Alireza S. Sarvestani  
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maine Orono, ME 04469-5711, USA
  Dispersion of rigid filler particles in macromolecular compounds is an effective strategy to enhance their thermo-mechanical properties. Recent advancements in nanotechnology have provided a major impetus to renovate the fabrication and processing of polymer composites. Increasing the surface area of the filler phase by reducing the characteristic size of the reinforcing elements down to the submicron range has lead to the emergence of polymer nanocomposites as a new class of composite materials. Dispersion of ultrafine particles has proved to be an effective strategy to enhance wide variety of macroscopic properties of polymer composites, often to a dramatic degree. Further progress in this direction requires a fundamental understanding of the reinforcement mechanism in the nanoscale structure. This article provides an overview on recent progress in development of mesoscale models for the overall rheological properties of polymer nanocomposites. We concentrate on the composites with statistically homogeneous (non-agglomerated) distribution of near-spherical nanoparticles at low volume fractions, dispersed in a matrix of homopolymer melt or solution. We will classify the mesomodels according to the state of entanglement of the polymer chains in the suspending medium. The proposed models aim to elucidate the generic rheological behavior of liquid polymer nanocomposites based on the role of energetic affinities between the polymer chains and nanoparticles.
  Polymer nanocomposites; Rheology; Mesomodels; Relaxation; Entanglement  

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