Stabilisation effects of superparamagnetic nanoparticles on clustering in nanocomposite microparticles and on magnetic behaviour
Superparamagnetic nanoparticles of magnetite were coprecipitated from iron salts, dispersed with nitric acid and stabilised either by lactic acid (LA) or by a polycarboxylate-ether polymer (MELPERS4343, MP). The differently stabilised nanoparticles were incorporated into a silica matrix to form nanocomposite microparticles. The silica matrix was prepared either from tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS) or from an aqueous sodium silicate (water glass) solution. Stabilisation of nanoparticles had a crucial influence on microparticle texture and nanoparticle distribution in the silica matrix. Magnetic measurements in combination with transmission electron microscopy (TEM) investigations suggest a uniform magnetic interaction of nanoparticles in case of LA stabilisation and magnetically interacting nanoparticle clusters of different sizes in case of MP stabilisation. Splitting of blocking temperature (TB) and irreversible temperature (Tir) in zero field cooled (ZFC) and field cooled (FC) measurements is discussed in terms of nanoparticle clustering.