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Title: Big Effect of Small Nanoparticles: A Shift in Paradigm for Polymer Nanocomposites

Polymer nanocomposites (PNCs) are important materials that are widely used in many current technologies and potentially have broader applications in the future due to their excellent property of tunability, light weight and low cost. But, expanding the limits in property enhancement remains a fundamental scientific challenge. We demonstrate that well-dispersed, small (diameter ~1.8 nm) nanoparticles with attractive interactions lead to unexpectedly large and qualitatively new changes in PNC structural dynamics in comparison to conventional composites based on particles of diameter ~10-50 nm. At the same time, the zero-shear viscosity at high temperatures remains comparable to that of the neat polymer, thereby retaining good processibility and resolving a major challenge in PNC applications. These results suggest that the nanoparticle mobility and relatively short lifetimes of nanoparticlepolymer associations open qualitatively new horizons in tunability of macroscopic properties in nanocomposites with high potential for the development of new functional materials.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [6] ;  [3] ;  [5] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [7]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Chemical Sciences Division
  2. Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL (United States). Dept. of Materials Science and Chemistry
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Computer Science and Mathematics Division and Center for Nanophase Materials Science
  4. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States). Dept. of Physics and Astronomy
  5. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States). Dept. of Chemistry
  6. (United States). Dept. of Chemistry
  7. (United States). Dept. of Chemistry and Dept. of Physics and Astronomy
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
ACS Nano
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1936-0851
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; apparent disentanglement; fragility; glass transition; polymer nanocomposites; small nanoparticles
OSTI Identifier: