Introducing advanced composites and hybrid materials

  • Hongbo Gu
  • Chuntai Liu
  • Jiahua Zhu
  • Junwei Gu
  • Evan K. Wujcik
  • Lu Shao
  • Ning Wang
  • Huige Wei
  • Roberto Scaffaro
  • Jiaoxia Zhang
  • Zhanhu Guo
Editorial

It is our great pleasure to introduce the inaugural issue of Advanced Composites and Hybrid Materials, a new interdisciplinary journal published by Springer Nature. Advanced Composites and Hybrid Materials provides a dedicated publishing platform for academic and industry researchers and offers the composites and hybrid materials field an opportunity to publish their creative research to exchange newly generated knowledge.

With the rapid advancement of materials science and engineering in twenty-first century, especially the development of nanoscience and nanotechnology, the new discoveries from diverse disciplines merge into a central hub of composites and hybrid materials. Composites are defined as materials with two or more constituents with significantly different physical or chemical properties (Fig. 1a). Composites cover a wider range of dimensions of mixing components, while hybrid usually refers to the constituents at the nanometer or molecular level. The revolution of new technologies in composites has generated great impact in every single corner of our daily life [1, 2].
Fig. 1

a Composites, b polymer composites, c ceramic composites (graphene (G)-porous aluminum oxide (PAO)), [5] (reprinted with permission from ref. [5]) d metal composites (Al/carbon nanotubes (CNTs)) [20], (reprinted with permission from ref. [20]) e carbon composites [21], (reprinted with permission from ref. [21]. Copyright (2013) American Chemical Society) f organic-inorganic hybrid materials [22], (reprinted with permission from ref. [22]. Copyright (2007) American Chemical Society) and supermolecular hybrid structures g PS-FPOSS-PEO, [17] h PS-AC60-PEO [17]. (Reprinted with permission from ref. [17]. Copyright (2016) American Chemical Society)

Based on the matrix material, composites can be categorized into polymer composites, ceramic composites, carbon composites, and metal composites. One example of the composite from each category is provided: polymer composites in Fig. 1b [3, 4], ceramic composites in Fig. 1c [5], metal composites in Fig. 1d [6], and carbon composites in Fig. 1e [7].

Nanocomposites, with one dimension of any constituent less than 100 nm, experienced a fast development over the past two decades. The large specific surface area and unique physicochemical properties of nanofillers allow flexible design of nanocomposites with unprecedented functionalities. It is expected that research in nanocomposites will keep its energetic momentum in the next few decades since there are still a lot of challenges that need to be addressed with combined research efforts [8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. The integration of different constituents into one unit does not simply generate a mixed property, but also creates some new physicochemical properties that were not present in the individual components. For example, negative permittivity has been discovered in engineered polymer and carbon nanocomposites [13, 14, 15], which is not existed in traditional materials.

Similarly, a hybrid material is not a simple physical mixture of different components. After combining the multiscale components, the resulting hybrid materials usually acquire new properties and these properties can be tailored by the specific chemical and physical properties of individual components, structure, and interfaces between different components [16]. Figure 1g, h illustrates the supermolecular structure of a specifically designed giant surfactant consisting of polystyrene (PS)-block-poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) diblock copolymer with fluorinated polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (FPOSS) and carboxylic acid functionalized fullerene (AC60), respectively [17]. Normally, hybrid materials are fabricated by the polymerization of macromonomers and metallic alkoxides, the encapsulation of organic components within sol-gel-derived hybrid metallic oxides, the organic functionalization of nanofillers with lamellar structures, and the self-assembly growth of hydrothermally prepared metal organic frameworks [18, 19].

In composites and hybrid materials as demonstrated in Fig. 2, the synergistic combination of multiscale components can enhance mechanical strength and thermosensitivity; improve thermal and chemical stability; and regulate optical, anti-corrosive, magnetic [20, 21, 22, 23], electrical, and thermal properties as well as fire retardancy. For example, after introducing 0.7 wt% polyaniline (PANI) functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) into epoxy matrix, an 85% improvement in the tensile strength was obtained [24]. The electrical conductivity of polypropylene (PP) was increased by ~ 7 orders of magnitudes after incorporating 0.3 wt% CNTs [25]. Adding 40 wt% functionalized graphite nanoplatelets (fGNPs) into polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) leads to a 20 times higher thermal conductivity as compared to pure PPS [26]. A lightweight, flexible, and conductive CNTs-multilayered graphene edge plane (MLGEP) core-shell hybrid foam with a density of 0.0089 g cm−3 exhibited an electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding effectiveness of over 47.5 dB in the X-band at a thickness of 1.6 mm, which far surpassed the best performance of the reported carbon-based composite materials [27].
Fig. 2

Properties of composites and hybrid materials

In these examples and many others, we see that advanced composites, as a type of unusual material that combines high strength and high modulus with substantially superior properties compared to structural metals and alloys with an equal weight, have been widely used in the fields of aircraft, aerospace, civil engineering and construction, and automotive. For example, composites occupy 50 wt% of the total weight of Boeing 787 Dreamliner [28].

Multi-functional hybrid materials also demonstrated great potential in optics [29], electronics [30, 31], soft robotics [32], mechanics [33, 34], catalysis [35, 36], sensors [37], environmental remediation [38], energy conversion and storage [39], electromagnetic interface (EMI) shielding [27], and drug delivery [40] in the forms of 0D nanoparticles, 1D fiber/tube, 2D coating/membrane and 3D framework (Fig. 3). For instance, stimuli-responsive silica/polymethacrylic acid (PMAA) hybrid nanotubes have been demonstrated to be a promising nanocontainer system for self-healing coatings in corrosion control [41]. The perovskite strontium ruthenate (SrRuO3) - graphene quantum dots (GQDs) hybrid possesses much higher power conversion efficiency (PCE) than that of reference device assembled with a conventional platinum (Pt) counter electrode. Such material has been considered as a highly efficient Pt-free counter electrode for practical applications in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) [42].
Fig. 3

Applications of composites and hybrid materials

Advanced composites and hybrid materials with novel structures and the investigation of the structure-property-performance relations have become the foundation in composites research. The establishment of new theories becomes possible with the discovery and understanding of new phenomena, which serves as an effective tool to design and create more interesting materials with desired functionalities. Theory guided design principles, new materials, advanced manufacturing facilities, novel interface engineering technologies, and analytical tools are the key driving forces to bring composite and hybrid material science into a new era. Novel strategies such as the Materials Genome Initiative, 3D printing, and other emerging techniques are driving exciting developments in this field.

With the creation of the new Advanced Composites and Hybrid Materials (Adv. Compos. Hybrd. Mater.) journal, here we provide a platform to publish and exchange the research advancement in composites and hybrid materials. We believe both academic researchers and industrial application scientists/engineers will be continuously inspired by their peers in this field and create new materials that will influence the way of living in human society. We thank you for your continuous support to the growth of our composites and hybrid materials society.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hongbo Gu
    • 1
  • Chuntai Liu
    • 2
  • Jiahua Zhu
    • 3
  • Junwei Gu
    • 4
  • Evan K. Wujcik
    • 5
  • Lu Shao
    • 6
  • Ning Wang
    • 7
  • Huige Wei
    • 8
  • Roberto Scaffaro
    • 9
  • Jiaoxia Zhang
    • 10
    • 11
  • Zhanhu Guo
    • 10
  1. 1.Shanghai Key Lab of Chemical Assessment and Sustainability, Department of ChemistryTongji UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.National Engineering Research Center for Advanced Polymer Processing TechnologyZhengzhou UniversityZhengzhouChina
  3. 3.Intelligent Composites Laboratory, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringThe University of AkronAkronUSA
  4. 4.Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Macromolecular Science and Technology, Department of Applied Chemistry, School of ScienceNorthwestern Polytechnical UniversityXi’ anChina
  5. 5.Materials Engineering and Nanosensor [MEAN] Laboratory, Department of Chemical and Biological EngineeringThe University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  6. 6.School of Chemistry and Chemical EngineeringHarbin Institute of TechnologyHarbinChina
  7. 7.State Key Laboratory of Marine Resource Utilization in South China Sea, College of Materials and Chemical EngineeringHainan UniversityHaikouChina
  8. 8.College of Chemical Engineering and Materials ScienceTianjin University of Science and TechnologyTianjinChina
  9. 9.Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, Ambientale, Aerospaziale, dei Materiali, UdR INSTM di PalermoUniversity of PalermoPalermoItaly
  10. 10.Integrated Composites Laboratory (ICL), Department of Chemical & Biomolecular EngineeringUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  11. 11.National Demonstration Center for Experimental Materials Science and Engineering EducationJiangsu University of Science and TechnologyZhenjiangChina

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