Annamalai Pratheep Kumar, Dilip Depan, NamrataSingh Tomer, Raj Pal Singh
Polymer Science and Engineering Division, National Chemical Laboratory, Pune-411008, India.
The field of nanoscience and nanotechnology is extending the applications of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering and technology into previously unapproached infinitesimal length scales. The polymer–nanoparticles/nanocomposites have been the exponentially growing field of research for developing the materials in last few decades and have been mainly focusing on the structure - property relationships and their development. Since the polymer - nanocomposites have been the staple of modern polymer industry, their durability under various environmental conditions and degradability after their service life are also essential fields of research. Thus, this article is intended to review the status of worldwide research in this aspect. Among various nanoparticulates, clay minerals and carbon nanotubes are more often used in enhancing physical, mechanical and thermal properties of polymers. In very few systems, the nanoparticulates have been incorporated into polymer as ‘nano-additives’ for both purposes: degradation and stabilization of polymers. The degradation and durability of polymers is reviewed in the presence of nanoparticles/nanocomposites under different environmental conditions. Nanoparticle-induced biodegradation of polymers is also discussed.