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Nanocomposites are materials that are created by introducing nanoparticulates (often referred to as filler) into a macroscopic sample material (often referred to as the matrix). This is part of the growing field of nanotechnology. After adding nanoparticulates to the matrix material, the resulting nanocomposite may exhibit drastically enhanced properties. For example, adding carbon nanotubes tends to drastically add to the electrical and thermal conductivity. Other kinds of nanoparticulates may result in enhanced optical properties, dielectric properties or mechanical properties such as stiffness and strength. In general, the nanosubstance is dispersed into the matrix during processing. The percentage by weight (called mass fraction) of the nanoparticulates introduced is able to remain very low (on the order of 0.5% to 5%) due to the incredibly high surface area to volume ratio of nanoparticulates. Much research is going into developing more efficient combinations of matrix and filler materials and into better controlling the production process.

Advantages of Nanosized Additions

The Nanocomposites 2000 conference has revealed clearly the property advantages that nanomaterial additives can provide in comparison to both their conventional filler counterparts and base polymer. Properties which have been shown to undergo substantial improvements include:

· Mechanical properties e.g. strength, modulus and dimensional stability

· Decreased permeability to gases, water and hydrocarbons

· Thermal stability and heat distortion temperature

· Flame retardancy and reduced smoke emissions

· Chemical resistance

· Surface appearance

· Electrical conductivity

· Optical clarity in comparison to conventionally filled polymers

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Nanocomposite". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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