Kinetics of electric field induced vertical orientation of halloysite nanotubes in photocurable nanocomposites†
The fast transient evolution of electric field assisted vertical orientation and assembly of halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) in a photo-curable matrix is investigated using a custom-built real-time birefringence measurement system. The effect of applied electric field strength and HNT loadings on the kinetics of orientation and organization of halloysite nanotubes into nanocolumns is systematically investigated. The following organization in the matrix is frozen by curing the precursor under ultraviolet (UV) light. The final structure is characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and wide angle X-ray scattering (WAXS). The nanocomposite films show vertically oriented and aligned HNTs due to the electric field. The orientation factor of HNTs decreases with the increase of particle concentration due to the higher viscosity and stronger inter-particle interaction.