nanoPaInt – Strong nanoparticle interactions in dense suspensions

Nanoparticles are used as additives to modify and control liquid properties and to stabilize foams and emulsions for possible application in the food, cosmetics and materials industries. They are the essential part of ink formulations for 2D and 3D printing and coatings, and very promising carriers for targeted drug delivery. Nanoparticles are incorporated into functional porous materials, designed for applications requiring extremely high surface area enabling high heat and mass transport and chemical reactions rates.

Nanoparticles can be harmful. Their presence in air or water can influence the Earth’s ecology and human health. As a result of human activity, millions of tons of potentially dangerous waste containing nano- and microparticles are produced and disposed daily. Handling these particles requires a comprehensive knowledge of the laws defining interaction of nanoparticles agglomerates resulting in their adhesion to different surfaces.

The aim of the nanoPaInt project is a comprehensive understanding and predictive modelling of the properties and dynamics of dense nanosuspensions, which are governed by strong nanoparticles interactions in liquid bulk and at interfaces. The gained knowledge is used to design novel functional smart liquids and solid nanomaterials.

The training aim of nanoPaInt network is to support the career development of young researchers both in academic and non-academic sectors and to train a new generation of creative, mobile, entrepreneurial and innovative early-stage researchers (ESRs) through the experience of independent and interdisciplinary research, participation at local and network-wide training activities and intersectorial and international secondments.

Work package 1: Nanoparticle interactions and rheology of nanosuspensions

In WP1 the interactions between the nanoparticles in liquid bulk and at fluid interfaces will be related to nanoparticles dynamics and to the bulk and surface rheology of nanosuspensions. The dynamics of nanoparticles will be simulated by solving the Langevin equation for the systems, in which the range of colloidal interactions significantly exceeds the particle size.

The simulations will lead to development of a breakthrough theory for the nanoparticles clustering, and further to development of model describing rheology of nanosuspensions and nanoemulsions.

Work package 2: Interfacial flows of nanosuspensions

This work package is focussed on investigation of dynamic interfacial flows which are
important for manufacturing and application of functional nanomaterials. This includes the fast elongational flow in liquid bridge, flow of films and sessile drops induced by vibrations and fast spreading under influence of surfactants. In these flows the relation between the time scale of the flow and the time scale of nanoparticles dynamics, including the adsorption/desorption kinetics, plays an important role.

Work package 3: Smart functional capillary nanosuspensions

In this work package, capillary nanosuspensions will be designed and fabricated with the forces between the nanoparticles responding to external stimuli or chemical reactions, which allows programming the response of the suspensions to changes in environmental pH, temperature or salinity. Capillary suspensions can also be used as precursors for fabrication of porous ceramic materials. The combination of microparticles and nanoparticles leads to a significant increase in the compressive strength of the resulting material. The combination of nanoparticles with different wettabilities enables the fabrication of smart porous materials that can be applied, for example, for the separation of liquids.

Work package 4: Novel functional nanomaterials

This WP is devoted to development and optimization of routes for manufacturing of novel functional nanomaterials from dense nanosuspensions on the basis of knowledge gained in the previous WPs. We shall demonstrate the applicability of nano-suspensions with controlled properties for manufacturing of functional materials and parts at different scales and shapes: micron-sized supraparticles, printed electronic circuits, porous materials and objects manufactured using 3D-printing process. Their applications include catalysis, gas adsorption, filtration, liquids separation and drug delivery.