MITO Material Solutions has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant of $224,988 to develop a graphene oxide-based nano-additive that doubles the interlaminar toughness of composite materials utilized in aerospace, recreation, and automotive industries.
The main focus of this project is the development of new hybrid nanofillers based on Graphene Oxide (GO) and Polyhedral Oligomeric Silsesquioxane (POSS). These nanofillers can be added to epoxy/vinyl ester/polyester matrices through a "Master Batch" process to enhance the interlaminar fracture toughness of commercial composites.
This increase in fracture toughness can be more than 100% at extremely low addition levels (~0.2% by weight of the composite) without any changes in current manufacturing processes. Nanofillers such as carbon nanotubes and nanoclays are difficult to add to composite matrices because of their tendency to agglomerate and result in poor dispersion, apart from major changes in current manufacturing practices. Preliminary experiments have demonstrated that it is possible to develop these hybrid nanofillers based on GO and POSS that can be added to composite matrices with excellent dispersion in composite industry standard solvents.
MITO shares that the additive was developed in Oklahoma State University’s Helmerich Research Center in Tulsa. This grant should help MITO grow to a predicted 200 employees within five to seven years.