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Patent Issued for Use of Nano Alumina Or Silica Dispersed in Polystyrene

March 4, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Life Science Weekly -- A patent by the inventors Butler, James R. (Spicewood, TX); Knoeppel, David W. (League City, TX), filed on November 29, 2011, was published online on February 18, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by NewsRx correspondents (see also Fina Technology, Inc.).

Patent number 8653187 is assigned to Fina Technology, Inc. (Houston, TX).

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "In general, a high quality packaging material is one that creates a good oxygen and moisture barrier. Packaged goods are intended to last longer typically by reducing their interaction with oxygen and water, which usually can deteriorate the product causing waste and other problems. Polymeric materials are often used as packaging materials because they create a good oxygen/moisture barrier and their appearance and shape can be easily controlled. Plastic materials are also used in place of glass for bottling because they are lighter, are more resistant to breakage when dropped, and can be less expensive. Several common polymeric materials used for packaging as well as other uses are polyethylene (PE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polypropylene (PP), polycarbonate (PC), and polystyrene (PS).

"Polystyrene is one of the largest volume thermoplastic resins in commercial production today. It is a hydrocarbon chain containing a phenyl group on every other carbon atom. Polystyrene is a durable polymer that is frequently encountered in daily life. A few common examples of polystyrene are plastic toys, computer housings, foam packaging, foam cups, food storage containers, etc.

"Polymer nanocomposites comprise polymeric materials and inorganic compounds. When these inorganic components are properly incorporated into a polymer matrix, improvements in physical and mechanical properties can be displayed. The extent of uniformity of distribution of the inorganic compounds incorporated into the polymer matrix influences the characteristics of the nanocomposite.

"Also, polystyrene is often times not suitable in certain environments. For example, polystyrene is typically not used in certain heated environments, such as microwave ovens, and may succumb to heat generated therein. It would be desirable to obtain a polystyrene composition that can have higher heat stability and/or higher heat distortion temperatures."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, NewsRx journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "An embodiment of the present invention is a nanocomposite comprising a polystyrene based polymer and a nanoparticle, which can be a treated nanoparticle formed by contacting a nanoparticle with an additive prior to combining with the monomer; wherein the nanoparticle is selected from the group consisting of silica, alumina, and combinations thereof.

"In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the polystyrene based polymer and a treated or untreated nanoparticle are combined in a melt blend.

"In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the polystyrene based polymer is formed by the polymerization of at least one monomer and the treated nanoparticle are combined with the at least one monomer prior to polymerization.

"In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the additive comprises a silane moiety.

"In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the additive is an alkoxy compound such as an alkoxy, dialkoxy, trialkoxy, etc., that can include methyl, ethyl, etc., that has an R group attached, wherein the R group is chosen from the group an alkane, an aromatic, and a vinyl group.

"In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the additive is trimethoxysilane that has an R group attached, wherein the R group is chosen from the group an alkane, an aromatic, and a vinyl group.

"In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the additive is trimethoxysilane that becomes at least a dimethyloxysilane having one methoxy reacted with an OH group to chemically bind the silane to the nanomaterial surface.

"In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the additive comprises a moiety that is capable of adsorbing volatile components from the polystyrene composite

"In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the nanocomposite has a glass transition temperature of at least 2.degree. C. above the glass transition temperature of the polystyrene based polymer without the treated nanoparticle.

"In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the nanocomposite has a glass transition temperature of at least 5.degree. C. above the glass transition temperature of the polystyrene based polymer without the treated nanoparticle.

"In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the nanocomposite has a glass transition temperature of at least 115.degree. C.

"In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the nanoparticle is present in an amount of from 0.001 wt % to 50 wt % of the nanocomposite.

"In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the nanoparticle comprises nano sized crystals in a micron sized cluster morphology that at least partially disperses into nanoparticles during the melt blend with the polystyrene based polymer and treated nanoparticle.

"In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the nanoparticle comprises nano sized crystals in a micron sized cluster morphology that at least partially disperses into nanoparticles during polymerization of at least one monomer.

"An embodiment of the present invention includes an article produced from the nanocomposite.

"An embodiment of the present invention is a method for production of a polymeric composite that includes combining a monomer with a nanoparticle, or clusters made of nano crystals, to form a mixture and subjecting the mixture to polymerization conditions to produce a polymeric composite. In an embodiment the nanoparticle is present in an amount of from 0.001 wt % to 50 wt % of the mixture.

"In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the polymeric composite includes a styrenic polymer that optionally includes one or more copolymers or comonomers. The polymeric composite can have an intercalated morphology, an exfoliated morphology, or both.

"In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the nanoparticle comprises silica or alumina. In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the nanoparticle is a treated nanoparticle formed by contacting a nanoparticle with an additive prior to combining with the monomer. In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the additive comprises a silane moiety.

"In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the additive is trimethoxysilane that becomes at least a dimethyloxysilane having one methoxy reacted with an OH group to chemically bind the silane to the nanomaterial surface.

"In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the additive is trimethoxysilane that has an R group attached, wherein the R group is chosen from the group an alkane, an aromatic, and a vinyl group.

"In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the nanoparticles increase the glass transition temperature of the polymeric composite to temperatures of at least 2.degree. C. above the glass transition temperature the polymeric composite without the nanoparticles, optionally at least 5.degree. C. above the glass transition temperature the polymeric composite without the nanoparticles, optionally at least 10.degree. C. above the glass transition temperature the polymeric composite without the nanoparticles, optionally to at least 115.degree. C.

"In an embodiment, either by itself or in combinations with other embodiments, the nanoparticles increase the heat stability and/or Vicat of the polymeric composite.

"An embodiment of the present invention includes an article produced from the polymeric composite.

"The various embodiments of the present invention can be joined in combination with other embodiments of the invention and the listed embodiments herein are not meant to limit the invention. All combinations of various embodiments of the invention are enabled, even if not given in a particular example herein."

URL and more information on this patent, see: Butler, James R.; Knoeppel, David W.. Use of Nano Alumina Or Silica Dispersed in Polystyrene. U.S. Patent Number 8653187, filed November 29, 2011, and published online on February 18, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=77&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=3821&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=20140218.PD.&OS=ISD/20140218&RS=ISD/20140218

Keywords for this news article include: Chalcogens, Nanoparticle, Polystyrenes, Nanotechnology, Benzene Derivatives, Fina Technology Inc., Benzylidene Compounds, Emerging Technologies.

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Source: Life Science Weekly


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