The EU-funded 'New high-quality mined nanomaterials mass produced for plastic and wood-plastic nanocomposites' (MINANO) project set out to improve cooperation between NP producers and end-product manufacturers. The project brought together partners with end-user product know-how, formulation and processing technology, and, most importantly, ability to secure a reliable source of nano raw materials. Scientists developed high-quality NPs and nano compounds beneficial to the mining industry and which can be integrated into the mass production process already in place. MINANO focused on polypropylene (PP) for the plastic nanocomposites and polyvinylchloride (PVC) for wood–plastic nanocomposites. Polystyrene foam was used as a matrix in heat insulation elements for buildings. Functionalised NPs produced in Mexico were added to the products manufactured in Europe. Researchers enhanced the flame-retardant properties of PP and PVC–wood composites. In addition, the ultraviolet (UV) light protection exhibited by PP was improved, and yellowing and surface abnormalities were reduced compared to products employing the commercial UV protector Tinuvin 326. Polystyrene foam heat insulation for buildings was improved in several ways through the addition of various NPs. The products were more stable in the face of exposure to UV light and exhibited both antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties. The combination of new nano functionalities offers far-reaching opportunities for new types of functional plastics, as well as completely new possibilities for wood–plastic nanocomposites. In the long run, this will move both the mining industry and end-product companies towards high-tech operations. By integrating NPs directly into the mining industry's mass production processes, MINANO helps ensure sustainable and safe production as well as the use of nanotechnology across the sector. The project's outcomes should also lead to a widespread uptake of the technology in many other industrial sectors.
Functionalised nanoparticles, nanoparticles, mining industry, mined nanomaterials, plastic, wood-plastic, nanocomposites, polypropylene, polyvinylchloride, polystyrene foam