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Title: Unraveling the Mechanism of Nanoscale Mechanical Reinforcement in Glassy Polymer Nanocomposites

The mechanical reinforcement of polymer nanocomposites (PNCs) above the glass transition temperature, T g, has been extensively researched. However, not much is known about the origin of this effect below T g. In this paper, we unravel the mechanism of PNC reinforcement within the glassy state by directly probing nanoscale mechanical properties with atomic force microscopy and macroscopic properties with Brillouin light scattering. Our results unambiguously show that the "glassy" Young's modulus in the interfacial polymer layer of PNCs is two-times higher than in the bulk polymer, which results in significant reinforcement below T g. We ascribe this phenomenon to a high stretching of the chains within the interfacial layer. Since the interfacial chain packing is essentially temperature independent, these findings provide a new insight into the mechanical reinforcement of PNCs also above T g.
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
  3. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
  4. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nano Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 16; Journal Issue: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 1530-6984
American Chemical Society
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 77 NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY; band excited atomic force microscopy; Brillouin light scattering; interfacial layer; mechanical reinforcement; Polymer nanocomposites
OSTI Identifier: