Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol.407, 140-147, 2013
Hansen solubility parameter analysis on the dispersion of zirconia nanocrystals
Nanoparticle dispersible in a broad range of solvents is desirable when preparing an organic/inorganic nanocomposite. In this report, the dispersion behavior of carboxylate-grafted zirconia nanoparticle in 25 solvents covering a wide range of polarity was analyzed based on their Hansen solubility parameters (HSP). Particles grafted with alkyl-chain longer than four carbons could only be dispersed in non-polar solvents, while that grafted with acetic acid was dispersible in polar ones. However, particle modified with methacrylic acid (MA) was compatible with both types of solvents, which was rather unexpected. Further NMR analysis showed that-the carboxylate-grafted samples contained a trace amount of triethanolamine (TEA) due to the particular ZrO2 synthesis process employed. The combination of the hydrophilic TEA ligand with the short hydrophobic tail of methacrylate broadened the range of compatible solvents from benzene to methanol. Such an extended solvent compatibility was observed previously only for nanoparticles covered with large polymer surfactants having both hydrophilic and hydrophobic groups. Achieving this with two small molecules having separate functional groups is crucial when one needs to maximize the inorganic content in a composite. (C) 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.