The laboratory activities are devoted to the synthesis and preparation of the materials that are the focus of our institute research. Typical equipments of a chemical laboratory are present (chemical fume hoods, microwave oven, hydrothermal synthesis equipments, etc.).
Polymers thermal characterization
Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) and Thermo Gravimetrical Analysis (TGA) present in this laboratory are used for the materials thermal characterization, in particular for polymer and polymer composites. DSC could operate between -85 °C and 300 °C since it is equipped with an intercooler system. This equipment allows following reactions that occur in a wide range of temperature, in particular crystallization, glass transition and melting of polymeric matrices. TGA is used to follow the mass loss of materials between 30°C and 1100 °C. This instrument could be equipped with two distinct sample holder: one for corrosive gas, suitable for more aggressive degradation products, and one with a Pt thermocouple, suitable for c-DTA measurements.
Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy is a measurement technique that allows both quantitative and qualitative analyses on organic materials and in particular on composites and nanocomposites materials polymer based. The instrument could be equipped with accessories to perform ATR (attenuated total reflectance spectroscopy). Using this approach the infrared radiation interacts only with the sample at the interface of materials allowing analyses on opaque materials and determination of materials modifications on the surface.
UV/Vis spectroscopy is used in analytical chemistry for the quantitative determination of different analytes, such as transition metal ions, highly conjugated organic compounds, and biological macromolecules. Spectroscopic analysis is commonly carried out in solutions but solids may also be studied. Using home-made systems we are able to perform kinetics on processes in the solid state such as migration of small molecules in the electric field or chemical evolution during electrical stimuli.
“Solid state mixing”, such as high energy mechanical milling (MM), represents an ecological and economical alternative to solutions or by high temperature processing. The high energy and pressure developed opens new and unexplored routes for the preparation of advanced functional materials such as nanopowder of rare metals or state of the mater usually formed in extreme conditions.
A Hg medium pressure UV lamp is used for the photocuring process of polymeric materials. Photocuring is a technique that allows the production of plastic films starting from liquid precursors of the organic phase by means of radical or cationic polymerization. It is known to be a fast and reliable technique that presents “green” characteristics since it is solvent free and energy saving. Moreover, since formulations are prepared from liquid monomers, mixing of fillers is very easy and thus it is particularly indicated for nanocomposites preparation.
HYSITRON–TI 950. The in-situ Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) imaging capability, provides very high precision in test-placement accuracy and data repeatability. The system features a sub 30 nN force noise floor, ultra-fast feedback control, user-definable data acquisition rates up to 30 kHz. It allows to measure hardness, Young’s modulus, fracture toughness at the nanoscale. It is also possible to quantify scratch resistance, critical delamination forces, and friction coefficients. In addition it is equipped with a module with a higher load head (3D OmniProbe) to provide the broadest force range available for nanomechanical testing (≤30 nN to 5 N) and is specifically designed to accomodate nanometer- micrometer scale connectivity. Thanks to the nanoECR (Electrical Contact Resistance) module, it provides a powerful tool for simultaneous, in-situ electrical and mechanical measurements at the micro-nano scale.