Confinement effects on the thermal stability of poly(ethylene oxide)/graphene nanocomposites: A reactive molecular dynamics simulation study

F Rahmani and M Mahdavi and S Nouranian and A Al-Ostaz, JOURNAL OF POLYMER SCIENCE PART B-POLYMER PHYSICS, 55, 1026-1035 (2017).

DOI: 10.1002/polb.24355

Nonisothermal and isothermal decomposition of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) loaded with different concentrations of pristine graphene (PG) and graphene oxide (GO) nanoplatelets were investigated using reactive molecular dynamics simulation. The onset of nonisothermal decomposition of the PG-loaded PEO system was the highest among all systems, suggesting that introducing PG to the polymer improves its thermal stability (an effect that increases with an increase in the PG concentration). At low concentration, introducing GO to the polymer brings about a deterioration of the thermal stability of the polymer consistent with experimental findings. On average, the activation energy for the isothermal decomposition of PG-loaded PEO system increases by 60% over that of the neat PEO system, while it decreases by 40% for the GO-loaded PEO system. A time-dependent analysis of the through-thickness decomposition profile of the above systems reveals that the polymer confined between the PG sheets exhibit a higher thermal stability compared to the bulk polymer. However, an opposite effect is observed with the polymer confined between the GO sheets. The latter observation is attributed to accelerated polymer chain scission in confined regions due to the ejection of reactive hydroxyl radicals from the GO surface during the early stages of thermal decomposition. (c) 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part B: Polym. Phys. 2017, 55, 1026-1035

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