Entanglement network in nanoparticle reinforced polymers

Robert A. Riggleman, Gregory N. Toepperwein, George J. Papakonstantopoulos, Jean-Louis Barrat, Juan J. de Pablo. Journal of Chemical Physics 130: 244903 (2009)


Polymernanocomposites have been widely studied in efforts to engineer materials with mechanical properties superior to those of the pure polymer, but the molecular origins of the sought-after improved properties have remained elusive. An ideal polymernanocomposite model has been conceived in which the nanoparticles are dispersed throughout the polymeric matrix. A detailed examination of topological constraints (or entanglements) in a nanocomposite glass provides new insights into the molecular origin of the improved properties in polymernanocomposites by revealing that the nanoparticles impart significant enhancements to the entanglement network. Nanoparticles are found to serve as entanglement attractors, particularly at large deformations, altering the topological constraint network that arises in the composite material.

Related Research Topics

Mechanical properties of polymer nanocomposites