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Nanofibrillar Networks in Poly(ethyl methacrylate) and Its Silica Nanocomposites Elizabeth A. Wilder, Michael B. Braunfeld, Hiroshi Jinnai,| Carol K. Hall,
 

Summary: Nanofibrillar Networks in Poly(ethyl methacrylate) and Its Silica Nanocomposites
Elizabeth A. Wilder, Michael B. Braunfeld, Hiroshi Jinnai,| Carol K. Hall,
David A. Agard, and Richard J. Spontak*,,
Departments of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering, North Carolina State UniVersity,
Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, Departments of Biochemistry & Biophysics and the Howard Hughes Medical
Institute, UniVersity of California, San Francisco, California 94143, and Department of Polymer Science &
Engineering, Kyoto Institute of Technology, Kyoto 606-8585, Japan
ReceiVed: April 24, 2003; In Final Form: August 12, 2003
Recent advances in polymer materials design seek to incorporate functionality, enhance existing properties,
and reduce weight without compromising mechanical properties or processability. While much attention has
been drawn to the development of organic/inorganic hybrid nanocomposites modified with discrete siliceous
nanoparticles (such as fumed/colloidal silica or organoclays), other opportunities exist for comparably
enlightened materials design. Dibenzylidene sorbitol (DBS) is a sugar derivative that is capable of self-
organizing into a 3D nanofibrillar network at relatively low concentrations in a wide variety of organic solvents
and polymers. In this work, we explore the morphological characteristics and properties of DBS in poly(ethyl
methacrylate) (PEMA) and PEMA nanocomposites with colloidal silica. Transmission electron microscopy
and microtomography reveal that the DBS molecules form highly connected networks, with nanofibrils
measuring ca. 10 nm in diameter and ranging up to several hundred nanometers in length. Dynamic mechanical
property analysis reveals that, while DBS has little effect on glassy PEMA, it serves to increase the elastic
modulus in molten PEMA.

  

Source: Agard, David - Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California at San Francisco

 

Collections: Biotechnology; Biology and Medicine