An evolving understanding of elastomeric polymer nanocomposites continues to expand commercial, defense, and industrial products and applications. This work explores the thermomechanical properties of elastomeric nanocomposites prepared from bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (BADGE) and three amine-terminated poly(propylene oxides) (Jeffamines). The Jeffamines investigated include difunctional crosslinkers with molecular weights of 2,000 and 4,000 g/mol and a trifunctional crosslinker with a molecular weight of 3,000 g/mol. Additionally, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were added, up to 1.25 wt%, to each thermoset. The findings indicate that the Tg and storage modulus of the polymer nanocomposites can be controlled independently within narrow concentration windows, and that effects observed following CNT incorporation are dependent on the crosslinker molecular weight.
Polymer matrix composites (PMCs) offer design solutions to produce smart sensing, conductive, or high performance composites for a number of critical applications. Nanoparticle additives, in particular, carbon nanotubes and metallic quantum dots, have been investigated for their ability to improve the conductivity, thermal stability, and mechanical strength of traditional composites. Herein we report the use of quantum dots (QDs) and fluorescently labeled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to modify the thermomechanical properties of PMCs. Additionally, we find that pronounced changes in fluorescence emerge following plastic deformation, indicating that in these polymeric materials the transduction of mechanical force into the fluorescence occurs in response to mechanical activation.
Segmented ionenes are a class of thermoplastic elastomers that contain a permanent charged group within the polymer backbone and a spacer segment with a low glass transition temperature (Tg) to provide flexibility. Ionenes are of interest because of their synthetic versatility, unique morphologies, and ionic nature. Using phase changing ionene-based nanocomposites could be extended to create reversible mechanically, electrically, optically, and/or thermally responsive materials depending on constituent nanoparticles and polymers. This talk will discuss recent efforts to utilize the synthetic versatility of ionenes (e.g., spacer composition of PTMO or PEG) to prepare percolated ionic domains in microphase separated polymers that display a range of thermomechanical properties. Furthermore, by synthesizing two series of ionene copolymers with either PEG or PTMO spacers at various ratios with 1,12-dibromododecane will yield a range of ion contents (hard contents) and will impact nanoparticle dispersion.