Adhesive and mechanical properties of soft nanocomposites: Model studies with blended latex films

Elizabeth F. Fabbroni, Kenneth R. Shull*, Mark C. Hersam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We used a unique approach based on contact mechanics to quantify the adhesive and linear viscoelastic properties of latex films approximately 100 μm thick. The latex films were formed from a mixture of two particle types and form stable films consisting of rigid and compliant regions. We used atomic force microscopy to verify that these regions remained well dispersed on the length scale of the original particle size. The properties of the films were determined by øh, the volume fraction of the stiffer component. For øh < 0.45, the films were quite adhesive, with viscoelastic properties determined by the compliant matrix material. Adhesive interactions between the film and indenter enabled us to oscillate the indenter in the direction normal to the film surface while maintaining a constant contact area, allowing us to determine the frequency dependence of the dynamic moduli of the films. Stiffer films with higher volume fractions of hard particles were characterized by indentation measurements, from which we were able to determine the time dependence of the relaxation modulus of the latex films. All results were consistent with a power-law form of the relaxation modulus with an exponent of 0.25. The magnitude of the relaxation modulus increased by a factor of 3000 as the volume fraction of hard particles increased from 0 to 0.89. For low values of øh, the composition dependence of the film stiffness was similar to the concentration dependence of the viscosity of spherical particle suspensions. A much weaker concentration dependence was observed for the highest values of øh, where the properties of the films were dominated by the stiffer component.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3090-3102
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2001


  • Adhesion
  • Contact mechanics
  • Filled polymers
  • Latex films
  • Nanocomposites
  • Stress relaxation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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