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Synthesis of polymer/inorganic nanocomposite films using highly porous inorganic scaffolds

: Zhang, H.; Popp, M.; Hartwig, A.; Mädler, L.


Nanoscale 4 (2012), Nr.7, S.2326-2332
ISSN: 2040-3364
ISSN: 2040-3372
Fraunhofer IFAM ()

Polymeric/inorganic nanocomposite films have been fabricated through a combination of flame-spray-pyrolysis (FSP) made inorganic scaffold and surface initiated polymerization of cyanoacrylate. The highly porous structure of pristine SnO 2 films allows the uptake of cyanoacrylate and the polymerization is surface initiated by the water adsorbed onto the SnO 2 surface. Scanning electron microscopy study reveals a nonlinear increase in the composite particle size and the film thickness with polymerization time. The structural change is rather homogeneous throughout the whole layer. The composite is formed mainly by an increase of the particle size and not by just filling the existing pores. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy imaging shows SnO 2 nanoparticles embedded in the polymeric matrix, constituting the nanocomposite material. Thermogravimetric analysis indicates that the porosity of the nanocomposite films decreases from 98% to 75%, resulting in a significant enhancement of the hardness of the films. DC conductivity measurements conducted in situ on the nanocomposite layer suggest a gradual increase in the layer resistance, pointing to a loss of connectivity between the SnO 2 primary particles as the polymerization proceeds.