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Nanostructured waterborne polymer films with outstanding properties

Final Report Summary - NAPOLEON (Nanostructured waterborne polymer films with outstanding properties)

The development of many industrial sectors - i.e. coatings, adhesives, cosmetics, and additives for paper and textiles- is limited by the inability of existing technology to produce nanostructured polymer films via a sustainable technology. The objective of 'Nanostructured waterbone polymer films with outstanding properties' (Napoleon) project is to make possible a generation of radically-new products by developing a technology platform for the production of films with controlled nanostructure without the emission of organic solvents or residual monomer.

The breakthrough idea is to use waterborne nanocomposite nanoparticles with carefully controlled structure as building blocks for the films. Nanoparticles are highly advantageous for processing films because they offer a means to tailor the size-scale of the nanostructure, given that the nanodomains cannot be larger than the size of the particle in which they are contained.

A further benefit of the proposed technology is its compliance with impending European directives on solvent emissions. A broad range of radically-new, high-solids, waterborne nano-particles of controlled structure will be created. These are classified as:

(1) high-performance nanostructured polymer/polymer, and
(2) polymer/inorganic nanoparticles.

A key inorganic additive will be exfoliated layered silicates. These nanostructured materials can impart a wide range of attractive properties. When the project started, there was no technology available for their controlled synthesis.

The knowledge gained during the Napoleon project has been disseminated through different media such as a website http://www.ehu.es/napoleon a short course given to the scientific and professionals community, 4 articles devoted to general public, 9 PhD thesis, 32 articles published in scientific journals and more than 50 presentations and posters in scientific congresses. It has to be mentioned that the procedure for the publication of all these contributions has been the same in all the cases, i.e. the approval by all the partners before their publication. This procedure will keep on after the end of the Napoleon project (from 1 December 2009 on) for all the results obtained within the project.

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