Article ID: 2019015
Car tires, sealing caulk and high-voltage cable insulators are prime examples of commercially available and widely used composites of polymers containing nanostructured particles. In fact, myriads of applications can be realized but the usefulness of such nanocomposites depends heavily on composition, morphology, concentration and dispersion homogeneity of the nanoparticle filler in the polymer matrix. Optimizing these characteristics while ensuring economically feasible fabrication, determines the extent to which new products integrate nanocomposites. This review discusses challenges and manufacturing options of polymer nanocomposites and, in particular, which and how much nanoparticle fillers improve electrical/thermal conductivity, dielectric permittivity, gas permeability, magnetization and mechanical stability by critically reviewing and classifying over 280 peer-reviewed articles. Lastly, the economic, environmental and health implications associated with these materials are highlighted.