Research objectives and content
The main objective of this project is to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms of the polymer adhesion by adding the expertise of Dr. Koutsos in Scanning Force Microscopy (SFM) to the other techniques already used in Dr. Leger 's group. The SFM technique will give directly in real space nanoscale information on the structure mechanical properties of polymer surfaces before and after fracture. SFM should be a complementary tool to the techniques used in the group: JKR test, wall slip measurements, X-rays and neutron reflectivity . The general orientation of the research project is to link the adhesion strength between bulk polymers (elastomers or semicrystalline polymers) and surfaces bearing surface connectors which enhance the adhesive properties. One of the systems to be investigated will be incompatible semi crystalline polymers (polypropylene/ polyamide) with connectors in between (which act as compatibilizers), with the objective of getting informations on the polymorphic transformations that possibly occur at the interface during curing and fracture. The other system will be latex films with investigation of their micromechanical properties and surface structure before and after fracture from silica surfaces bearing polymer connectors (brushes or pseudo-brushes)
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
On one hand Dr. V. Koutsos will extend his expertise in Surface Scanning Microscopy on thin and ultra thin polymer layers to polymer surfaces and solid surfaces after fracture. On the other hand he will be working on a new subject for him: polymer adhesion, using a great variety of techniques of great potential applications.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
The present project is not linked to any industrial contract. However Dr. Leger's group has several research contracts with St Gobain, Michelin and Rhone-poulenc presently under way.