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Issue 23, 2018
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Chemical heterogeneity in interfacial layers of polymer nanocomposites

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It is well-known that particle–polymer interactions strongly control the adsorption and conformations of adsorbed chains. Interfacial layers around nanoparticles consisting of adsorbed and free matrix chains have been extensively studied to reveal their rheological contribution to the behavior of nanocomposites. This work focuses on how chemical heterogeneity of the interfacial layers around the particles governs the microscopic mechanical properties of polymer nanocomposites. Low glass-transition temperature composites consisting of poly(vinyl acetate) coated silica nanoparticles in poly(ethylene oxide) and poly(methyl acrylate) matrices, and of poly(methyl methacrylate) silica nanoparticles in a poly(methyl acrylate) matrix are examined using rheology and X-ray photon correlation spectroscopy. We demonstrate that miscibility between the adsorbed and matrix chains in the interfacial layers led to the observed unusual reinforcement. We suggest that packing of chains in the interfacial regions may also contribute to the reinforcement in the polymer nanocomposites. These features may be used in designing mechanically adaptive composites operating at varying temperature.

Graphical abstract: Chemical heterogeneity in interfacial layers of polymer nanocomposites

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Publication details

The article was received on 29 Mar 2018, accepted on 15 May 2018 and first published on 15 May 2018

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8SM00663F
Citation: Soft Matter, 2018,14, 4784-4791
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    Chemical heterogeneity in interfacial layers of polymer nanocomposites

    S. Yang, S. Liu, S. Narayanan, C. Zhang and P. Akcora, Soft Matter, 2018, 14, 4784
    DOI: 10.1039/C8SM00663F

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