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 GuoEmail author

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.


  1. 1.
    Zhu J, Wei S, Alexander M Jr, Dang TD, Ho TC, Guo Z (2010) Enhanced electrical switching and electrochromic properties of poly (p‐phenylenebenzobisthiazole) thin films embedded with nano‐WO3. Adv Funct Mater 20:3076–3084CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    He Q, Yuan T, Wei S, Haldolaarachchige N, Luo Z, Young DP, Khasanov A, Guo Z (2012) Morphology‐and phase‐controlled iron oxide nanoparticles stabilized with maleic anhydride grafted polypropylene. Angew Chem Int Ed 51:8842–8845CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ramanathan T, Abdala AA, Stankovich S, Dikin DA, Herrera-Alonso M, Piner RD, Adamson DH, Schniepp HC, Chen X, Ruoff RS, Nguyen ST, Aksay IA, Prud’Homme RK, Brinson LC (2008) Functionalized graphene sheets for polymer nanocomposites. Nat Nanotechnol 3:327–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Gu H, Ma C, Liang C, Meng X, Gu J, Guo Z (2017) A low loading of grafted thermoplastic polystyrene strengthens and toughens transparent epoxy composites. J Mater Chem C 5:4275–4285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Zhou M, Lin T, Huang F, Zhong Y, Wang Z, Tang Y, Bi H, Wan D, Lin J (2013) Highly conductive porous graphene/ceramic composites for heat transfer and thermal energy storage. Adv Funct Mater 23:2263–2269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Qu X, Zhang L, Wu M, Ren S (2011) Review of metal matrix composites with high thermal conductivity for thermal management applications. Prog Nat Sci: Mater Int 21:189–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Liu H, Gao J, Huang W, Dai K, Zheng G, Liu C, Shen C, Yan X, Guo J, Guo Z (2016) Electrically conductive strain sensing polyurethane nanocomposites with synergistic carbon nanotubes and graphene bifillers. Nanoscale 8:12977–12989CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Cheng X, Wang Z, Jiang X, Li T, Lau C, Guo Z, Ma J, Shao L (2018) Towards sustainable ultrafast molecular-separation membranes: From conventional polymers to emerging materials. Prog Mater Sci 92:258–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Luo Q, Ma H, Hao F, Hou Q, Ren J, Wu L, Yao Z, Zhou Y, Wang N, Jiang K, Lin H, Guo Z (2017) Carbon nanotube based inverted flexible perovskite solar cells with allinorganic charge contacts. Adv Funct Mater 27:1703068CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Zhang R, Moon K, Lin W, Wong C (2010) Preparation of highly conductive polymer nanocomposites by low temperature sintering of silver nanoparticles. J Mater Chem 20:2018–2023CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ye Y, Chen H, Wu J, Ye L (2007) High impact strength epoxy nanocomposites with natural nanotubes. Polymer 48:6426–6433CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Deng S, Zhang J, Ye L, Wu J (2008) Toughening epoxies with halloysite nanotubes. Polymer 49:5119–5127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Cheng C, Fan R, Wang Z, Shao Q, Guo X, Xie P, Yin Y, Zhang Y, An L, Lei Y, Ryu JE, Shankar A, Guo Z (2017) Tunable and weakly negative permittivity in carbon/silicon nitride composites with different carbonizing temperatures. Carbon 125:103–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Zhu J, Gu H, Luo Z, Haldolaarachige N, Young DP, Wei S, Guo Z (2012) Carbon nanostructure-derived polyaniline metacomposites: electrical, dielectric, and giant magnetoresistive properties. Langmuir 28:10246–10255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Zhu J, Wei S, Zhang L, Mao Y, Ryu J, Mavinakuli P, Karki AB, Young DP, Guo Z (2010) Conductive polypyrrole/tungsten oxide metacomposites with negative permittivity. J Phys Chem C 114:16335–16342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Buehler MJ, Rabu P, Taubert A (2012) advanced hybrid materials: design and applications. Eur J Inorg Chem 2012:5092–5093CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hsu CH, Dong XH, Lin Z, Ni B, Lu P, Jiang Z, Tian D, Shi AC, Thomas EL, Cheng SZD (2016) Tunable affinity and molecular architecture lead to diverse self-assembled supramolecular structures in thin films. ACS Nano 10:919–929CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Yin PT, Shah S, Chhowalla M, Lee K-B (2015) Design, synthesis, and characterization of graphene–nanoparticle hybrid materials for bioapplications. Chem Rev 115:2483–2531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Cobo I, Li M, Sumerlin BS, Perrier S (2015) Smart hybrid materials by conjugation of responsive polymers to biomacromolecules. Nat Mater 14:143–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Bakshi SR, Agarwal A (2011) An analysis of the factors affecting strengthening in carbon nanotube reinforced aluminum composites. Carbon 49:533–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Lei Y, Lu J, Luo X, Wu T, Du P, Zhang X, Yang R, Wen J, Miller DJ, Miller JT, Sun Y-K, Elam JW, Amine K (2013) Synthesis of porous carbon supported palladium nanoparticle catalysts by atomicl ayer deposition: application for rechargeable lithium-O2 battery. Nano Lett 13:4182–4189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Albinati A, Faccini F, Gross S, Kickelbick G, Rizzato S, Venzo A (2007) New methacrylate-functionalized Ba and Ba−Ti oxoclusters as potential nanosized building blocks for inorganic−organic hybrid materials: synthesis and characterization. Inorg Chem 46:3459–3466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Esser-Kahn AP, Thakre PR, Dong H, Patrick JF, Vlasko-Vlasov VK, Sottos NR, Moore JS, White SR (2011) Three-dimensional microvascular fiber-reinforced composites. Adv Mater 23:3654–3658CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Gu H, Tadakamalla S, Zhang X, Huang Y-D, Jiang Y, Colorado HA, Luo Z, Wei S, Guo Z (2013) Epoxy Resin Nanosuspensions and Reinforced nanocomposites from polyaniline stabilized multi-walled carbon nanotubes. J Mater Chem C 1:729–743CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Zhang X, Yan X, He Q, Wei H, Long J, Guo J, Gu H, Yu J, Liu J, Ding D, Sun L, Wei S, Guo Z (2015) Electrically conductive polypropylene nanocomposites with negative permittivity at low carbon nanotube loading levels. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 7:6125–6138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Gu J, Du J, Dang J, Geng W, Hu S, Zhang Q (2014) Thermal conductivities, mechanical and thermal properties of graphite nanoplatelets/polyphenylene sulfide composites. RSC Adv 4:22101–22105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Song Q, Ye F, Yin X, Li W, Li H, Liu Y, Li K, Xie K, Li X, Fu Q, Cheng L, Zhang L, Wei B (2017) Carbon nanotube–multilayered graphene edge plane core–shell hybrid foams for ultrahigh-performance electromagnetic-interference shielding. Adv Mater 29:1701583CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Gu H, Ma C, Gu J, Guo J, Yan X, Huang J, Zhang Q, Guo Z (2016) An overview of multifunctional epoxy nanocomposites. J Mater Chem C 4:5890–5906CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Lebeau B, Innocenzi P (2011) Hybrid materials for optics and photonics. Chem Soc Rev 40:886–906CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Lee SB, Choi O, Lee W, Yi JW, Kim BS, Byun JH, Yoon MK, Fong H, Thostenson ET, Chou T-W (2011) Processing and characterization of multi-scale hybrid composites reinforced with nanoscale carbon reinforcements and carbon fibers. Compos Part A: Appl S 42:337–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Chen C, Tang Y, Ye YS, Xue Z, Xue Y, Xie X, Mai Y-W (2014) High-performance epoxy/silica coated silver nanowire composites as underfill material for electronic packaging. Compos Sci Technol 105:80–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Kwok SW, Morin SA, Mosadegh B, So J-H, Shepherd RF, Martinez RV, Smith B, Simeone FC, Stokes AA, Whitesides GM (2014) Magnetic assembly of soft robots with hard components. Adv Funct Mater 24:2180–2187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Uddin MF, Sun CT (2010) Improved dispersion and mechanical properties of hybrid nanocomposites. Compos Sci Technol 70:223–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Hartikainen J, Hine P, Szabó JS, Lindner M, Harmia T, Duckett RA, Friedrich K (2005) Polypropylene hybrid composites reinforced with long glass fibres and particulate filler. Compos Sci Technol 65:257–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Hou Y, Wen Z, Cui S, Ci S, Mao S, Chen J (2015) An advanced nitrogen-doped graphene/cobalt-embedded porous carbon polyhedron hybrid for efficient catalysis of oxygen reduction and water splitting. Adv Funct Mater 25:872–882CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Diaz U, Brunel D, Corma A (2013) Catalysis using multifunctional organosiliceous hybrid materials. Chem Soc Rev 42:4083–4097CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Travlou NA, Singh K, Rodriguez-Castellon E, Bandosz TJ (2015) Cu-BTC MOFgraphene-based hybrid materials as low concentration ammonia sensors. J Mater Chem A 3:11417–11429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Gu H, Lou H, Tian J, Liu S, Tang Y (2016) Reproducible magnetic carbon nanocomposites derived from polystyrene with superior tetrabromobisphenol A adsorption performance. J Mater Chem A 4:10174–10185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Zhu J, Chen M, Qu H, Luo Z, Wu S, Colorado HA, Wei S, Guo Z (2013) Magnetic field induced capacitance enhancement in graphene and magnetic graphene nanocomposites. Energy Environ Sci 6:194–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Pakulska MM, Vulic K, Tam RY, Shoichet MS (2015) Hybrid crosslinked methylcellulose hydrogel: a predictable and tunable platform for local drug delivery. Adv Mater 27:5002–5008CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Li GL, Zheng Z, Möhwald H, Shchukin DG (2013) Silica/polymer double-walled hybrid nanotubes: synthesis and application as stimuli-responsive nanocontainers in self-healing coatings. ACS Nano 7:2470–2478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Liu T, Yu K, Gao L, Chen H, Wang N, Hao L, Li T, He H, Guo Z (2017) A graphene quantum dot decorated SrRuO3 mesoporous film as an efficient counter electrode for high-performance dye-sensitized solar cells. J Mater Chem A 5:17848–17855CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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
    Email author
  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

Personalised recommendations