Materials Chemistry

Dr. Joost Duvigneau – materials chemistry, engineering, and processing of advanced (sustainable) thermoplastics, (nano)particles, and (nano)composites

Dr. Joost Duvigneau's research focuses on the development of designer nanoparticles, nanocomposites, and surface modification strategies to control and optimize thermoplastic (composite) structure-property relationships.

Among the most successful examples are developing and preparing various core-shell nanoparticles that act as efficient nucleation agents in nanocellular foams (See Figure 1). These foams are considered as the next-generation thermal insulation materials. The patented nanoparticles were proven as beyond state-of-the-art nucleation agents in thermoplastic foaming. The current emphasis is on optimizing particle design and foaming conditions as well as on transferring the technology to industrially relevant foam matrixes and processes.


Figure 1: Preparation if Stöber silica nanoparticles with a PDMS shell (left) and photos of corresponding PMMA nanocomposite films before and after CO2-based batch foaming (middle). The SEM image (right) clearly shows that the prepared nucleating particles reside at the foam cell wall and that on average there are 1 to 2 particles per foam cell. This SEM image confirms the observed very high nucleation efficiency for the prepared core-shell silica nanoparticles.

My driving force is to utilize fundamental proven concepts at the forefront in materials science, chemistry, and technology in real-life applications, to eventually address societal challenges among others in the areas of energy consumption, clean water availability, and sustainability of materials. It goes without saying that the current emphasis on preparation, characterization, and potential utilization of bio-based and biodegradable polymers, as well as bio-based fillers, have become integral parts of my key research areas. For instance, bio-based foams, (modified) bio-based functional fillers (and their respective composites), bio-mimicking universal functional adhesives, and the thermoplastic processing of biopolymers play a central role in various research projects I am currently involved in.