Journal of Physical Chemistry B, Vol.121, No.27, 6732-6738, 2017
Unexpected Effects of Activator Molecules' Polarity on the Electroreological Activity of Titanium Dioxide Nanopowders
Titanium dioxide nanoparticles, obtained using the sol-gel method and modified with organic solvents, such as acetone, acetonitrile, benzene, diethyl ether, dimethyl sulfoxide, toluene, and chloroform, were used as the filler of polydimethylsiloxane-based electrorheological fluids. The effect of electric field strength on the shear stress and yield stress of electrorheological fluids was investigated, as well as the spectra of their dielectric relaxation in the frequency range from 25 to 10(6) Hz. Modification of titanium dioxide by polar molecules was found to enhance the electrorheological effect, as compared with unmodified TiO2, in accordance with the widely accepted concept of polar molecule dominated electrorheological effect (PM-ER). The most unexpected result of this study was an increase in the electrorheological effect during the application of nonpolar solvents with zero or near-zero dipole moments as the modifiers. It is suggested that nonpolar solvents, besides providing additional polarization effects at the filler particles interface, alter the internal pressure in the gaps between the particles. As a result, the filler particles are attracted to one another, leading to an increase in their aggregation and the formation of a network of bonds between the particles through liquid bridge contacts. Such changes in the electrorheological fluid structure result in a significant increase in the mechanical strength of the structures that arise when an electric field, is applied, and an increase in the observed electrorheological effect in comparison with the unmodified titanium dioxide.