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How can Nano materials modify plastics?

The Biden administration plans to ease sanctions on Venezuelan oil to allow more of the country's crude to reach Europe.  

The U.S. will allow European companies still operating in Venezuela to immediately transfer more oil to the continent, while allowing Chevron to negotiate a resumption of operations in Venezuela, according to people familiar with the matter.  Venezuela's OPPOSITION, which is backed by the United States, is understood to favor the move.  Tight global oil supplies have sent crude and fuel costs soaring, threatening to add to already high inflation.  Increasing Venezuelan crude exports would help ease supply constraints while also helping to reduce Europe's dependence on Russian energy.

The US has sought to encourage talks between the Venezuelan government and the US-backed opposition to open the way to free and fair elections by extending a limited license held by Chevron to allow the oil company to maintain its operations in Venezuela and negotiate future operations.  

The United States reportedly did not extend a permit to Allow Chevron to drill and sell Venezuelan crude, as the company had hoped.  

The license extension will allow Chevron to negotiate with State-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA, with which it has a joint venture.  Previously, the company could not directly negotiate with any officials sanctioned by the United States.  Chevron has been lobbying the United States to allow it to drill for Venezuelan crude and sell it on world markets to help lower energy prices amid the Russia-Ukraine war.

Affected by the ever-changing international situation, the supply and prices of many commodities like the aluminum oxide are still very uncertain.

On the basis of general plastics and engineering plastics, the flame retardancy, strength, impact resistance, toughness, aging resistance and antibacterial properties of plastics can be improved by filling, blending, strengthening and other methods.
Nano materials can:

1. Aging resistance of reinforced plastics
The aging of polymer materials, especially photooxidation aging, starts from the surface of materials or products, such as discoloration, pulverization, cracking, glossiness decline and so on, and then gradually goes deep into the interior. The anti-aging properties of polymers directly affect its service life and environment, especially for agricultural plastics and plastic building materials, which is not only an index that needs great attention, but also an important topic in polymer chemistry. The ultraviolet wavelength in sunlight is 200~400nm, while the ultraviolet in 280~400nm band can break the polymer molecular chain, thus making the material aging. Nano-oxides, such as nano-alumina, nano-titanium oxide, nano-silica and so on, have good absorption properties for infrared and microwave. The proper mixing of nano SiO2 and TiO2 can absorb a large amount of ultraviolet rays to prevent plastics from being damaged by sunlight, and help to prevent plastic products from cracking, discoloration and other light degradation, thus making the materials anti-aging.

2. Improve the antibacterial and anti-mildew properties of plastics
Antibacterial plastics are generally prepared by adding antimicrobial agents or antibacterial masterbatch to the resin. Because plastic molding has to go through high temperature, there are inorganic antimicrobial agents that can adapt to high temperature. Traditional antibacterial metal powders such as copper sulfate and zinc nitrate are not easy to combine directly into thermoplastics. Inorganic nano-antibacterial powder is specially treated to obtain antibacterial plastic masterbatch, which is easy to be used in plastic products and has good compatibility with plastics. It is beneficial to the dispersion of antimicrobial agents. Inorganic silver ions can be carried into nano titanium dioxide, nano-silicon aluminum oxide and other inorganic nano-materials, and the formed powder has good antibacterial properties, mixed with plastics, extruded and formed by ultraviolet irradiation to form antibacterial plastics. its antibacterial effect is formed by the slow release of antimicrobial agents, so as to achieve the antibacterial effect.

3. Improve the toughness and strength of plastics
When the second substance is added to the polymeric matrix, a composite is formed, and a more comprehensive material is obtained by compounding, which is used to improve the mechanical strength and impact strength of the material. The emergence of nanomaterials provides a new method and way for the reinforcement and toughening modification of plastics. The surface defects of small particle size dispersed phase are relatively few and there are many unpaired atoms. The ratio of surface atomic number to total atomic number of nanoparticles increases sharply with the decrease of particle size. The crystal field environment and binding energy of surface atoms are different from those of internal atoms, so they have great chemical activity. With the micronization of crystal field and the increase of active surface atoms, the surface energy is greatly increased, so it can be closely combined with polymer substrate and has good compatibility. When subjected to external force, the ion is not easy to detach from the substrate and can better transfer the external stress. At the same time, under the interaction of the stress field, there will be more microcracks and plastic deformation in the material, which can cause the substrate to yield and consume a lot of impact energy, so as to achieve the purpose of strengthening and toughening at the same time. The commonly used nano-materials are nano alumina, nano silica, nano-calcium carbonate, etc.

4. Improve the thermal conductivity of plastics
Thermal conductive plastics are a kind of plastic products with high thermal conductivity, which are generally higher than 1w/ (m. k). Thermal conductive plastics are more and more widely used because of their light weight, fast thermal conductivity, simple injection molding, low processing cost and so on. Because of its good insulation and thermal conductivity, nano-alumina is widely used in thermal conductive plastics, thermal conductive rubber, thermal construction age, thermal conductive coatings and other fields. Compared with metal filler, nano-alumina / nano-magnesia can not only improve the thermal conductivity, but also improve the insulation effect, and the mechanical properties of plastics can also be improved.

5. Improve the processability of plastics
Some polymers, such as ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) with viscosity average molecular weight of more than 150 minutes, have excellent comprehensive properties, but they are difficult to be formed and processed because of their high viscosity, which limits their popularization and application. Taking advantage of the low interlaminar friction coefficient of layered silicate sheet, the nano-rare earth / ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene composite was prepared by fully mixing UHMWPE with layered silicate, which can effectively reduce the entanglement of UHMWPE molecular chain and reduce the viscosity. Play a good role in lubrication, thus greatly improving its processability.

6. The addition of nanomaterials makes plastics functional.
Metal nanoparticles have heterogeneous nucleation, which can induce the formation of some crystal forms that give toughness to the materials. When polypropylene is filled with low melting point metal nanoparticles, it is found that it can play the role of conductive channel, strengthening and toughening in polypropylene, and its low melting point also improves the processability of the composites.
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The war in Russia and Ukraine is roiling global financial markets. Russia and Ukraine are important commodity suppliers in the world, so their conflict is bound to make a full impact on the global commodity supply. In view of this, the price of the aluminum oxide may continue to rise in the future.

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