Healing surface defects with nanoparticle-filled polymer coatings: Effect of particle geometry
One of the current challenges in designing "smart" materials is to create coatings that effectively heal defects in the underlying surface. Such coatings would significantly extend the life-time and utility of manufactured components. Due to the push to fabricate nano-scale devices, there is a particular need to create materials for healing the nano-scale defects that arise in these devices. What is needed is a "responsive" coating that can be readily applied to the system, such that when a defect appears, the coating effectively senses its presence and then causes the repair of the damaged area. Through molecular dynamics, we examine how a molten polymer coating containing nanoparticles could be utilized to repair a nano-scale crack on a surface. Particles are driven into the crack by a purely entropic depletion attraction. This effect can be enhanced by using rod-like particles.
Updated: Nov 16, 2010