Effect of particle agglomeration and interphase on the glass transition temperature of polymer nanocomposites

Rui Qiao, Hua Deng, Karl W. Putz, L. Catherine Brinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


In this article, we utilize finite element modeling to investigate the effect of nanoparticle agglomeration on the glass transition temperature of polymer nanocomposites. The case of an attractive interaction between polymer and nanofiller is considered for which an interphase domain of gradient properties is developed. This model utilizes representative volume elements that are created and analyzed with varying degrees of nanoparticle clustering and length scale of interphase domain. The viscoelastic properties of the composites are studied using a statistical approach to account for variations due to the random nature of the microstructure. Results show that a monotonic increase in nanofiller clustering not only results in the loss of interphase volume but also obstructs the formation of a percolating interphase network in the nanocomposite. The combined impacts lead to a remarkable decrease of T g enhancement of clustering nanofillers in comparison with a well-dispersed configuration. Our simulation results provide qualitative support for experimental observations that clustering observed at high nanofiller concentrations negatively impacts the effects of the nanofiller on overall properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)740-748
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2011


  • agglomeration
  • clustering degree
  • filler reinforcement
  • finite element modeling
  • finite element simulations
  • glass transition temperature
  • interphase network
  • interphase percolation
  • nanocomposites
  • particle distribution
  • polymer nanocomposites
  • viscoelastic properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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