How much nanocomposites have stretched science?
Nanocomposites are newly emerging materials that are receiving a growing attention in multiple fields of utilization. There has been continuous race to develop nanocomposites that can stretch the capabilities of materials beyond their conventional use. The development of such materials can be a very sophisticated and demanding endeavor and that’s why some researchers avoid working on the development of materials and focus on their characterization aspect.
However, the approach of the team led by Dr. Nasser Al-Aqeeli, Associate professor at the Mechanical Engineering Department, was quite different. Dr. Al-Aqeeli was determined to march into the fundamental processing of materials and start making nanocomposites from scratch. The developed materials need to fulfill certain needs in industrial practices or possibly stretch the capabilities of certain materials to cope with the increasing demand of higher performance alternatives. The primary industries that are targeted are oil exploration, aerospace and automotive industries. The words design-, develop-, test- of materials are no strangers to his group. NanoComposites Research Team
From left: Mr. Atef Al-Zahrani (MSc Candidate), Dr. Al-Aqeeli, Mr. Muhamamd Khwaja (PhD Candidate), Mr. Muhammad Hussein (PhD Candidate)
According to Dr. Al-Aqeeli: “We are now focused on the development of diverse nanocomposite materials and one of our main directions is on developing cheaper drill bits for oil explorations and drilling”. Drill bits are primarily made by using diamond reinforcements and they are very expensive, and can have very limited use. The new nanocomposite that is developed, according to their research, is a cheaper alternative for drilling and can cost only 10% of the diamond-reinforced ones. The striking addition in here is the possibility of having then as nearly efficient as the diamond-reinforced drill bits. These Nanocomposite drill bits are at the testing stage with the KFUPM team and they are still working hard to boost their performance.