The influence of graft length and density on dispersion, crystallisation and rheology of poly(ε-caprolactone)/silica nanocomposites

Maria Eriksson, Joris Hamers, Ton Peijs (Corresponding author), Han Goossens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
64 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Different techniques of grafting polymer chains to filler surfaces are often employed to compatibilise filler and polymer matrices. In this paper the influence of graft length and graft density on the state of dispersion, crystallisation and rheological properties of poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL)/silica (SiO2) nanocomposites are reported. Grafted silica nanoparticles were prepared through polymerisation of PCL from the nanoparticle surface. Graft length was controlled by the reaction time, while the grafting density was controlled by the monomer-to-initiator ratio. Grafted nanoparticles were mixed with PCL of different molecular weights and the state of dispersion was assessed. Different matrix-to-graft molecular weight ratios resulted in different states of dispersion. Composites based on the higher molecular weight matrix exhibited small spherical agglomerates while the lower molecular weight matrix revealed more sheet-like microstructures. The state of dispersion was found to be relatively independent of graft length and density. Under quiescent conditions the grafts showed increased nucleation ability in the higher molecular weight PCL, while in the lower molecular weight matrix the effect was less pronounced. Rheological experiments showed an increase in viscosity with increased filler content, which was beneficial for the formation of oriented structures in shear-induced crystallisation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2106
Number of pages19
JournalMolecules
Volume24
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Crystallisation
  • Dispersion
  • Grafting
  • Nanocomposites
  • Polymer
  • Rheology
  • Silica

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