Polymer-nanoparticle interfacial interactions in polymer nanocomposites: Confinement effects on glass transition temperature and suppression of physical aging

Perla Rittigstein, John M. Torkelson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

334 Scopus citations

Abstract

The effects of confinement on glass transition temperature (T g) and physical aging are measured in polystyrene (PS), poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), and poly(2-vinyl pyridine) (P2VP) nanocomposites containing 10- to 15-nm-diameter silica nanospheres or 47-nm-diameter alumina nanospheres. Nanocomposites are made by spin coating films from sonicated solutions of polymer, nanofiller, and dye. The T gs and physical aging rates are measured by fluorescence of trace levels of dye in the films. At 0.1-10 vol % nanofiller, T g values can be enhanced or depressed relative to neat, bulk T g (T g,bulk) or invariant with nanofiller content. For alumina nanocomposites, T g increases relative to T g,bulk by as much as 16 K in P2VP, decreases by as much as 5 K in PMMA, and is invariant in PS. By analogy with thin polymer films, these results are explained by wetted P2VP-nanofiller interfaces with attractive interactions, nonwetted PMMA-nanofiller interfaces (free space at the interface), and wetted PS-nanofiller interfaces lacking attractive interactions, respectively. The presence of wetted or nonwetted interfaces is controlled by choice of solvent. For example, 0.1-0.6 vol % silica/PMMA nanocomposites exhibit T g enhancements as large as 5 K or T g reductions as large as 17 K relative to T g,bulk when films are made from methyl ethyl ketone or acetic acid solutions, respectively. A factor of 17 reduction of physical aging rate relative to that of neat, bulk P2VP is demonstrated in a 4 vol % alumina/ P2VP nanocomposite. This suggests that a strategy for achieving nonequilibrium, glassy polymeric systems that are stable or nearly stable to physical aging is to incorporate well-dispersed nanoparticles possessing attractive interfacial interactions with the polymer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2935-2943
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics
Volume44
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 2006

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Films
  • Fluorescence
  • Glass transition
  • Interfaces
  • Nanocomposites
  • Nanoparticles
  • Photophysics
  • Relaxation
  • Silicates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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