Applied Surface Science, Vol.447, 152-164, 2018
Surface engineering of nanoparticles with macromolecules for epoxy curing: Development of super-reactive nitrogen-rich nanosilica through surface chemistry manipulation
Curing behavior of epoxy-based nanocomposites depends on dispersion state of nanofillers and their physical and chemical interactions with the curing moieties. In this work, a systematic approach was introduced for chemical functionalization of nanoparticles with macromolecules in order to enrich crosslinking potential of epoxy/amine systems, particularly at late stages of cure where the curing is diffusion-controlled. Super-reactive hyperbranched polyethylenimine (PEI)-attached nanosilica was materialized in this work to facilitate epoxy-amine curing. Starting from coupling [3-(2,3-epoxypropoxy) propyl] trimethoxysilane (EPPTMS) with hyperbranched PEI, a super-reactive macromolecule was obtained and subsequently grafted onto the nanosilica surface. Eventually, a thermally-stable highly-curable nanocomposite was attained by replacement of amine and imine groups of the PEI with imide and amide groups through the reaction with pyromellitic acid dianhydride. Fourier-transform infrared spectrophotometry, X-ray diffractometry, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy approved successful grafting of polymer chains onto the nanosilica surface. Thermogravimetric analyses approved a relatively high grafting ratio of ca. 21%. Curing potential of the developed super-reactive nanoparticle was uncovered through nonisothermal differential scanning calorimetry signifying an enthalpy rise of ca. 120 J/g by addition of 2 wt.% to epoxy at 5 degrees C/min heating rate. Even at low concentration of 0.5 wt.%, the glass transition temperature of epoxy increased from 128 to 156 degrees C, demonstrating prolonged crosslinking. (C) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.