Correlation between grafted nanoparticle-matrix polymer interface wettability and slip in polymer nanocomposites

M Ibrahim and N Begam and V Padmanabhan and JK Basu, SOFT MATTER, 14, 6076-6082 (2018).

DOI: 10.1039/c8sm01072b

Controlling and understanding the flow properties of polymer nanocomposites (PNC) is very important in realising their potential for various applications. In this study we report molecular dynamics simulation studies of slip between a rotating polymer-grafted nanoparticle and the surrounding free linear matrix chains. By varying the interface wettability between the nanoparticle and matrix chains defined by the parameter f, the ratio of the graft to the matrix chain length, or the graft chain density, Sigma, we were able to tune the interface slip, delta, significantly. Both f and Sigma alter the interface wettability by changing the matrix chain penetration depth, lambda, into the graft chain layer. We observed a large value of delta at smaller f or Sigma which reduces with an increasing value of the respective parameters. Since interface slip is also likely to affect other properies of PNCs, like viscosity and the glass transition, we suggest that these parameters could become useful tools to control the flow and mechanical properties of PNCs made with grafted nanoparticles.

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