The applications of nanocomposite materials derived from natural biopolymer components gaining more attraction because of their renewability, biodegradability, flexibility, and their capability of novel functionalities. In addition, in bionanocomposites, combination of biological and synthetic components can be facilitated due to strong interfacial interactions resulting in substantially enhanced structural performance. For example, synthetic nanomaterials, such as carbon nanotubes (CNT) and graphene, can be integrated with biological components to improve fracture toughness, strength, electrical and thermal conductivity, and optical properties. Although in the last few decades the applications of naturally derived nanocomposites have been expanded substantially, still several challenges of great importance has been remained to be solved. For example, many biopolymers suffer reduced mechanical performance such as ultimate tensile strength after extraction. The incorporation of recombinant organisms into composites could generate living bionanocomposites so that the bio-derived components are constantly fixed and recycled within the material .
In this project rheological behaviour of candidate biopolymer will be investigated experimentally and by modelling studies. The biopolymer will be modified by CNTs and graphene and tensile modulus and toughness of the resulting bionanocomposites will be measured. Fractured morphology of the developed bionanocomposites will be analysed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and high resolution optical microscopy and atomic force microscopy (AFM).
The linear and non‐linear rheological parameters of the pristine biopolymer and nanobiopolymers will be studied in detail to understand their viscoelastic properties. Rheological analysis will be conducted over a wide range of temperature.
Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) tests will be performed to examine the effect of temperature on the elastic modulus of the biopolymer and nanobiocomposites. The outcome of this project is production of new stronger and tougher nanobiocomposite for application in aerospace structures