Graphene (single layer) is well known for its outstanding thermal conductivity. Despite the exploitation of graphene in bulk materials is still very much limited by its avaialbility, graphene-related materials (GRM) such as multi-layer
graphene and graphene nanoplatelets (GNP) are currently of high interest for their use in thermally conductive materials. On the other hand, there is an increasing interest and need for thermally-conductive polymer-based materials,
that will allow the manufacturing of a range of heat exhangers, taking advantage of the corrosion resistance and ease of processing of polymers. While the combination of polymers and graphene-related materials into nanocomposites
is quite obvious, the performances obtained are variable and depend, among other paramenters, on nanoparticle size, defects, dispersion and processing. Furthermore, thermal conductivity in nanomaterials is strongly limited by the interfaces,
each of those acting as a thermal resistance to the heat transfer. The first part of this talk will deal with recent research work in the preparation and properties of GRM polymer nanocomposites and nanopapers, as well as the functionalization
of GNPs to produce molecular junctions acting as thermal bridges.
Surprisingly enough, GRM may be also used to deliver a heat shield in extreme conditions, for instance when a flame is applied onto the surface of a GRM-coated polymer foams. The second part of the talk will deal with recent results on
the development of coating methods and the flame retardancy performance obtained with thin layers of graphene oxide or GNP onto soft polyrethane open foams, which may find applications in upholstered furniture, building insulation and transport.
Alberto Fina received his PhD in Materials Science and Technology in 2007 and he's currently associate professor in chemistry at Politecnico di Torino (I). Starting from his PhD, A. Fina has been addressing the preparation of polymer
nanocomposites using different nanoparticles (nanoclays, layered double hydroxides, Polyhedral Oligomeric SilSesquioxanes-POSS) mainly aiming at flame retardancy properties. In 2009, he enlarged his research domain to thermally
conductive polymer nanocomposites. This topic soon became his main research field, mostly in terms of applied research in the frame of EU FP7 projects Thermonano and Nanocool, and recently to the fundamental aspects behind the
problem of thermal conductivity in polymer nanocomposites, in the frame of his ERC starting grant project INTHERM. In parallel, he has also been active in the field of flame retardancy, especially in the study of ignition of polymers and
nanocomposites, in the substitution of halogenated flame retardants in ABS as well as to nanoclay-based brick and mortar structures for the protection of polymer composites during exposure to a flame. In the last 4 years, he has been
working also on layer by layer coating depositions with nanoclays and graphene related materials onto films for gas barrier applications as well as on foams for the improvement of their flame retardancy.
A. Fina is currently leading a group of 4 post-docs and 6 PhD students, he is co-author of 60 papers in major international peer reviewed journals, with >2700 citations yielding an H-index of 22, 7 book chapters and presented his
research work at more than 30 international conferences.