Center for Experimental Mechanics (CEM) is an independent Laboratory within the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ljubljana. The main focus of CEM is performing educational and research activities in a field of behavior of polymers, composites, polymer melts, suspensions and the related applications.

Educational activities are carried out within the following courses:

Research activities include basic research within the ongoing ARRS (Slovenian Research Agency) research program “Sustainable Polymeric  Materials and Technologies” (P2-0264) as well as applicative research related to particular industrial applications. We aim to incorporate and implement the obtained information, experience and knowledge into new innovative industrial solutions to enhance competitive capacities and strategic opportunities for various industries (automotive, aerospace, heating industry, medical, military, home appliances, etc.).

CEM is actively involved in various international research collaborations which include leading research institutions all over the world:

  • Bauman Moscow State University, Russia
  • Saratov State University, Russia
  • Lehigh University, USA
  • Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute of Polymer Materials, Germany
  • Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute of Polymer Technology, Germany
  • University of Texas at Dallas, USA
  • Mountanuniversitat Leoben, Chair of Polymer Processing
  • University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Luleå University of Technology, Sweden
  • Çukurova University, Turkey

New nitrogen (N2) generator

We have upgraded our research equipment with a new nitrogen generation system. The system enables rheological and mechanical tests with the materials, for which the presence of oxygen is undesirable (especially at higher temperatures). Generator capacities are sufficient to conduct long-lasting experiments, i.e. viscosity measurements of polymer melt at low shear rates or solid creep measurements at longer times.

New measuring system has arrived!

We have expanded existing research and development capacities of Laboratory for Experimental Mechanics with new multi-purpose modular rheometer Anton Paar MCR 702. The purchase of the rheometer was co-financed by the Slovenian Research Agency ARRS (national call “Package 18”) and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.

Among other MCR 702 enables:

  • Determination of static, time-dependent, and dynamic properties of polymers and composites.
  • Uniaxial, shear, bending and compression tests.
  • Determination of properties in wide temperature range and at different humidity levels.
  • Determination of thermal properties and thermal expansion coefficient of various materials.

New paper on nanocomposites

We are extremely happy to share with you that our research article on polyethylene composites has been accepted and published in the prestigious journal Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing in open access!
The paper titled “Nano-mesh superstructure in single-walled carbon nanotube/polyethylene nanocomposites, and its impact on rheological, thermal and mechanical properties” was prepared in collaboration with leading Slovenian research institutions: Jožef Stefan Institute, National Institute of Chemistry, and Faculty of Polymer Technology.

We investigated the formation of so-called nano-mesh superstructure by the single-walled carbon nanotubes in low- and high-density polyethylene matrices. Polymer nano-composites with 8 different concentrations of nanotubes (from 0 to 1%) were prepared by extrusion and injection molding. We found that superstructure was established by two mechanisms: (i) alignment of nanotube bundles (forming network backbone) and (ii) shish-kebab induced crystallization (forming network net). Formation of superstructure causes confinement effect that disrupts melting and crystallization kinetics (preventing crystal growth), which consequently reduces effective mechanical reinforcement.

Please have a look at the publication following this link.