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Special Issue "Polymer-Inorganic Hybrids and Their Applications"

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A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 October 2011)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Walter Remo Caseri

Department of Materials, ETH Zürich, HCI F 515, Vladimir-Prelog-Weg 5, CH-8093 Zürich, Switzerland
E-Mail
Fax: +41 44 632 10 96
Interests: inorganic polymers; organometallic polymers; nanocomposites

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Polymer-inorganic hybrid materials include a broad variety of systems. For instance, a polymer can act as a matrix for dispersed inorganic nanoparticles thus constituting what is known by the name of nanocomposites. A special case of nanocomposites comprises inorganic particles which are linked by covalent bonds with the polymer matrix. Also, materials with a tightly bound interconnected network of inorganic and organic species have been prepared. Besides other preparation methods, processes based on in situ particle synthesis including sol-gel processes have frequently been applied. Such methods can prevent agglomeration of inorganic species in the final products, which is often a problem when preformed nanoparticles and polymers are mixed, unless the particles are modified with an organic surface layer. Importantly, polymer-inorganic hybrids can exhibit materials properties which are more pronounced or even differ from those of comparable polymer composites with larger inorganic particles, such as optical properties (e.g., transparency and color, including dichroism), magnetic properties (superparamagnetism), mechanical properties, chemical properties (catalytic or sensory activity), and gas barrier properties. Thus, polymer-inorganic hybrid materials are considered to find application in various areas, for example in optics, catalysis, sensor technology, electronics, magnetism, mechanics, and food and beverage packaging.

Prof. Dr. Walter Remo Caseri
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • hybrid materials
  • nanocomposites
  • polymers
  • inorganic nanoparticles
  • sol-gel process
  • in-situ particle synthesis
  • optics, magnetism
  • mechanics
  • sensor technology

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle The Mechanical Properties of Epoxy Composites Filled with Rubbery Copolymer Grafted SiO2
Polymers 2012, 4(1), 187-210; doi:10.3390/polym4010187
Received: 17 December 2011 / Revised: 5 January 2012 / Accepted: 6 January 2012 / Published: 16 January 2012
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (2281 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study demonstrated a method for toughening a highly crosslinked anhydride cured DGEBA epoxy using rubbery block copolymer grafted SiO2 nanoparticles. The particles were synthesized by a sequential reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization. The inner rubbery block poly(n-hexyl methacrylate) (PHMA) had
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This study demonstrated a method for toughening a highly crosslinked anhydride cured DGEBA epoxy using rubbery block copolymer grafted SiO2 nanoparticles. The particles were synthesized by a sequential reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization. The inner rubbery block poly(n-hexyl methacrylate) (PHMA) had a glass transition temperature below room temperature. The outer block poly(glycidyl methacrylate) (PGMA) was matrix compatible. A rubbery interlayer thickness of 100% and 200% of the particle core radius was achieved by grafting a 20 kg/mol and a 40 kg/mol PHMA at a graft density of 0.7 chains/nm2 from the SiO2 surface. The 20 kg/mol rubbery interlayer transferred load more efficiently to the SiO2 cores than the 40 kg/mol rubbery interlayer and maintained the epoxy modulus up to a loading of 10 vol% of the rubbery interlayer. Both systems enabled cavitation or plastic dilatation. Improvement of the strain-to-break and the tensile toughness was found in both systems. We hypothesize that plastic void growth in the matrix is the primary mechanism causing the improvement of the ductility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer-Inorganic Hybrids and Their Applications)
Open AccessArticle Plasma Treated Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes (MWCNTs) for Epoxy Nanocomposites
Polymers 2011, 3(4), 2142-2155; doi:10.3390/polym3042142
Received: 26 October 2011 / Revised: 8 December 2011 / Accepted: 16 December 2011 / Published: 19 December 2011
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (2754 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Plasma nanocoating of allylamine were deposited on the surfaces of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) to provide desirable functionalities and thus to tailor the surface characteristics of MWCNTs for improved dispersion and interfacial adhesion in epoxy matrices. Plasma nanocoated MWCNTs were characterized using scanning
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Plasma nanocoating of allylamine were deposited on the surfaces of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) to provide desirable functionalities and thus to tailor the surface characteristics of MWCNTs for improved dispersion and interfacial adhesion in epoxy matrices. Plasma nanocoated MWCNTs were characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM), surface contact angle, and pH change measurements. Mechanical testing results showed that epoxy reinforced with 1.0 wt % plasma coated MWCNTs increased the tensile strength by 54% as compared with the pure epoxy control, while epoxy reinforced with untreated MWCNTs have lower tensile strength than the pure epoxy control. Optical and electron microscopic images show enhanced dispersion of plasma coated MWCNTs in epoxy compared to untreated MWCNTs. Plasma nanocoatings from allylamine on MWCNTs could significantly enhance their dispersion and interfacial adhesion in epoxy matrices. Simulation results based on the shear-lag model derived from micromechanics also confirmed that plasma nanocoating on MWCNTs significantly improved the epoxy/fillers interface bonding and as a result the increased composite strength. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer-Inorganic Hybrids and Their Applications)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Gold-Poly(methyl methacrylate) Nanocomposite Films for Plasmonic Biosensing Applications
Polymers 2011, 3(4), 1833-1848; doi:10.3390/polym3041833
Received: 30 August 2011 / Accepted: 24 October 2011 / Published: 25 October 2011
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (937 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Gold-poly(methyl methacrylate) nanocomposites are prepared by an in situ method, by irradiating spin-coated films containing the polymer and the gold precursor dissolved in acetone. The reduction of gold ions results in the formation of Au that nucleates and grows within the polymer film.
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Gold-poly(methyl methacrylate) nanocomposites are prepared by an in situ method, by irradiating spin-coated films containing the polymer and the gold precursor dissolved in acetone. The reduction of gold ions results in the formation of Au that nucleates and grows within the polymer film. It is shown that, depending on the energy source, gold nanoparticles with different shapes can be formed. Nanocomposites prepared through UV-, thermal-, and MW-irradiation, respectively, show a low sensitivity toward the environment. However, by annealing the samples at temperatures well above the glass transition temperature of the polymer, the response to dielectric environment appears to be enhanced significantly. The sensitivity of samples synthesized through the three different methods is found to be comparable, around 100 nm/RIU. The increased sensitivity of the annealed sample is accounted for by the increased mobility of both polymer chains and gold nanoparticles in the rubbery state of the material and the presence of the monomer. Gold nanoparticles “freed” from the strong interaction with the polymer are now able to feel the molecules from the surrounding environment. The results show that, by using adequate post-synthesis heat treatments, gold-polymer nanocomposites can be used as plasmonic sensing platforms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer-Inorganic Hybrids and Their Applications)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Nanocomposites Based on Metal and Metal Sulfide Clusters Embedded in Polystyrene
Polymers 2011, 3(3), 1352-1362; doi:10.3390/polym3031352
Received: 9 July 2011 / Accepted: 10 August 2011 / Published: 22 August 2011
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3963 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Transition-metal alkane-thiolates (i.e., organic salts with formula Me(SR)x, where R is a linear aliphatic hydrocarbon group, –CnH2n+1) undergo a thermolysis reaction at moderately low temperatures (close to 200 °C), which produces metal atoms or metal
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Transition-metal alkane-thiolates (i.e., organic salts with formula Me(SR)x, where R is a linear aliphatic hydrocarbon group, –CnH2n+1) undergo a thermolysis reaction at moderately low temperatures (close to 200 °C), which produces metal atoms or metal sulfide species and an organic by-product, disulfide (RSSR) or thioether (RSR) molecules, respectively. Alkane-thiolates are non-polar chemical compounds that dissolve in most techno-polymers and the resulting solid solutions can be annealed to generate polymer-embedded metal or metal sulfide clusters. Here, the preparation of silver and gold clusters embedded into amorphous polystyrene by thermolysis of a dodecyl-thiolate precursor is described in detail. However, this chemical approach is quite universal and a large variety of polymer-embedded metals or metal sulfides could be similarly prepared. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer-Inorganic Hybrids and Their Applications)

Review

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Open AccessReview Polymer-Nanocrystal Hybrid Materials for Light Conversion Applications
Polymers 2012, 4(1), 1-19; doi:10.3390/polym4010001
Received: 31 October 2011 / Revised: 13 December 2011 / Accepted: 21 December 2011 / Published: 27 December 2011
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (1076 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract In this mini-review we report on current developments of hybrid materials based on semiconductor nanocrystals integrated into polymer matrices for direct light conversion, their present limitations, as well as their high potential for future applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer-Inorganic Hybrids and Their Applications)

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