Non-Destructive Investigation of Dispersion, Bonding, and Thermal Properties of Emerging Polymer Nanocomposites Using Close-Up Lens Assisted Infrared Thermography

Ali Ashraf, Nikhil Jani, Francis Farmer, Jennifer K. Lynch-Branzoi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Polymer nanocomposites possess unique sets of properties that make them suitable for different applications, including structural and flame-retardant material, electromagnetic wave reflector, sensors, thin film transistor, flexible display, and many more. The properties of these nanocomposite are dependent on nanofiller dispersion and bonding with polymer matrix (i.e. particle-matrix interaction). Thermography is a non-destructive method that may be used to gain insight into dispersion and particle-matrix interaction. Infrared (IR) radiation emitted from these nanomaterial polymer composite depends on the emissivity of the individual components. In addition, during flash heating and cooling, different thermal conductivity of components in the nanocomposite can influence pixel intensity differently in the IR image or video being captured. We have used an economical mid wavelength IR camera Fluke RSE600 equipped with a close-up macro lens and algorithm based on MATLAB image processing toolbox to analyse dispersion, voids and thermal diffusivity of patented graphene polymer nanocomposite materials (G-PMC) in micro-scale. These G-PMCs can act as a standard material to determine the potential of our IR thermography technique due to their homogeneity and lack of impurity due to unique fabrication process. Thermal diffusivity and dispersion of nanoparticles in our G-PMCs was estimated after irradiation with a xenon flash lamp by spatially mapping transient IR radiations from different G-PMCs using the Fluke RSE600 thermal imager. Results from thermography experiments were compared with scanning electron microscope (SEM) and Raman spectroscopy results. Micro-scale thermography was able to detect millimetre scale thermal diffusivity variation in the injection molded G-PMC samples and relate it to change in dispersion of nanofillers, unlike SEM and Raman, where micro-scale measurements could not determine the reason behind millimetre scale property variation. We believe this low cost, fast, micro-scale, non-destructive technique will provide valuable insight into functional polymer nanocomposite fabrication and corresponding electrical and thermal properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)735-742
Number of pages8
JournalMRS Advances
Issue number14-15
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • composite
  • graphene
  • microscale
  • polymer


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