Quantitative Nanomechanical Properties of Polymers
Nanomechanics with the Atomic Force Microscope
The interplay between the mechanical properties of polymers on the nanoscale and the macroscopic scale is an open issue in physics and materials science because their quantification with nanometer resolution is still demanding. The atomic force microscope has proven to be a powerful tool in studying the topography and morphology of heterogeneous polymer systems on the nanoscale. Most operation modes are based on the dynamic interaction between a vibrating tip and the sample surface that also allows for the discrimination of soft and stiff components. The peak-force tapping mode, a relatively new technique in atomic force microscopy, however, facilitates to resolve the local surface distribution of quantitative physical properties such as the elasticity, adhesion, deformation and dissipation of the specimen by accomplishing force-versus-distance measurements at a high acquisition rate.
In this project, technically relevant polymer systems will be studied. Possible systems include (1) elastomeric polypropylene, a semi-crystalline polymer and (2) polystyrene-block-polybutadiene diblock copolymer. The first one is typically used in the packaging and car industry while the second one is widely spread in the shoe industry.
The student will study the physical properties of polymers on the nanoscale with the the atomic force microscope. The temperature-dependence of the mechanical properties should be quantified with the help of an in-situ setup for the atomic force microscope. The objective is to better understand the variation of nanomechanical properties at the surface of polymers.
One IREP student(s) can work on this project.
Pre-requisites or requirements for the project
• Background in physics, chemistry, material science or engineering
• Basic knowledge in polymer physics or chemistry
Literature and preparation
until end of December 2020