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Claire Roberts

Claire Roberts (previous student, left the group in 2000)

The physical and mechanical properties of a polymer melt can be greatly altered by the addition of fillers. The polymer chains close to the filler particles can adsorb onto their surface and these "tethered" polymer chains behave differently to the free polymer chains. To understand the effect of fillers upon the overall properties of the melt it is very important to understand both the properties of the melt itself and the interfacial region between the particles and the bulk melt.

In this project a dispersion of silica in poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) is studied. Academically it is of interest in that it is known that the silica particles have a large effect upon the melt and commercially dispersions of silica in PDMS are used in many applications.

Silica with polymer
The grey circles represent silica particles, the red lines bound polymer, the blue lines influenced polymer and the black lines free polymer.