Characterization and modeling of the barrier properties in nanostructured systems

Minelli, Matteo (2009) Characterization and modeling of the barrier properties in nanostructured systems, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Ingegneria chimica dell'ambiente e della sicurezza, 21 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/1477.
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The object of the present study is the process of gas transport in nano-sized materials, i.e. systems having structural elements of the order of nanometers. The aim of this work is to advance the understanding of the gas transport mechanism in such materials, for which traditional models are not often suitable, by providing a correct interpretation of the relationship between diffusive phenomena and structural features. This result would allow the development new materials with permeation properties tailored on the specific application, especially in packaging systems. The methods used to achieve this goal were a detailed experimental characterization and different simulation methods. The experimental campaign regarded the determination of oxygen permeability and diffusivity in different sets of organic-inorganic hybrid coatings prepared via sol-gel technique. The polymeric samples coated with these hybrid layers experienced a remarkable enhancement of the barrier properties, which was explained by the strong interconnection at the nano-scale between the organic moiety and silica domains. An analogous characterization was performed on microfibrillated cellulose films, which presented remarkable barrier effect toward oxygen when it is dry, while in the presence of water the performance significantly drops. The very low value of water diffusivity at low activities is also an interesting characteristic which deals with its structural properties. Two different approaches of simulation were then considered: the diffusion of oxygen through polymer-layered silicates was modeled on a continuum scale with a CFD software, while the properties of n-alkanthiolate self assembled monolayers on gold were analyzed from a molecular point of view by means of a molecular dynamics algorithm. Modeling transport properties in layered nanocomposites, resulting from the ordered dispersion of impermeable flakes in a 2-D matrix, allowed the calculation of the enhancement of barrier effect in relation with platelets structural parameters leading to derive a new expression. On this basis, randomly distributed systems were simulated and the results were analyzed to evaluate the different contributions to the overall effect. The study of more realistic three-dimensional geometries revealed a prefect correspondence with the 2-D approximation. A completely different approach was applied to simulate the effect of temperature on the oxygen transport through self assembled monolayers; the structural information obtained from equilibrium MD simulations showed that raising the temperature, makes the monolayer less ordered and consequently less crystalline. This disorder produces a decrease in the barrier free energy and it lowers the overall resistance to oxygen diffusion, making the monolayer more permeable to small molecules.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Minelli, Matteo
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Ingegneria industriale
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Transport properties, nanocomposites, diffusion
Data di discussione
17 Aprile 2009

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