(217dh) Investigating the Relationships Between Mechanical and Thermal Properties of Hydrogel Nanocomposites
AIChE Annual Meeting
Monday, November 4, 2013 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Nanocomposites often exhibit improved thermal and mechanical properties compared to pure polymers. However, over two decades of research, using both experimental studies and modeling analyses, has not fully elucidated the mechanistic underpinnings behind these enhancements. Moreover, few studies have focused on developing an understanding between two or more polymer properties affected by the incorporation of nanomaterials. In our current study, we characterized the properties of polymer nanocomposites using synthetic hydrogels incorporating silica nanoparticles as the model system. Specifically, we aim to explore the relationship between viscoelastic and thermal properties of such nanocomposites. Rotational rheometry, atomic force microscopy, and laser flash techniques were used to characterize the structure and properties of hydrogels upon the addition of silica nanoparticles. Our preliminary results suggest that both hydrogel mechanical and thermal properties are significantly dependent on the particle size and concentration of the nanoparticles. Additionally, there seems to be an upper limit to the gains in polymer properties due to addition of nanoparticles. Future studies will further explore the correlation between mechanical and thermal properties of polymer nanocomposites and provide fundamental understanding on how nanoparticles behave in polymers.