The Modelling of an Impervious Nano-Composite Barrier System for Pipe Systems

Abstract

Development of a model to predict conditions for optimal orientation of nanoparticles in an extrusion process, together with methods of manufacturing non-leaching pipes based on nanoclay technology. The role of the nanoparticles is to form a barrier to render the pipe non-permeable to hydrocarbons and contaminants. The orientation of nanofillers determines the effectiveness of the pipe in preventing permeation.
The innovation is the process of producing layers of aligned nanoclay platelets in the pipe body reducing permeation and leaching and using a multiscale model of the nanoclay/polymer systems to predict exfoliation and orientation of the platelets. The model is used to predict conditions for optimal alignment to form a barrier layer in extruded pipes. Factors involved include polymer blend selection, nanoclay type, surface treatment, compounding and processing methods & conditions.
Project deliverables were the creation of a model based on the process parameters to predict the alignment and distribution of platelets in polymers, the development of compounding processes and extrusion technology to produce dispersed, exfoliated and aligned nanocomposite layers within the polymer matrix, the development of an online monitoring system to check the distribution and morphology of the nanoclays in the matrix and the adaptation of co-extrusion dies to accommodate the new approach.

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