Percolation of high-density polymer regions in nanocomposites: The underlying property for mechanical reinforcement

V Padmanabhan, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 139, 144904 (2013).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4824765

Polymer nanocomposites have shown to exhibit improved mechanical properties compared to their pure host polymers. These property changes have been primarily attributed to the nature of polymer/nanoparticle interactions. Molecular dynamics simulations of model polymer nanocomposites have provided new insights into the molecular origin of property-changes in these nanocomposites. It was observed that addition of nanoparticles, induced adsorption of monomer segments onto the surface of nanoparticles creating high-density regions of polymer segments in the interfacial zones. A closer look into the morphology of these regions surrounding the nanoparticles revealed that mechanical reinforcement and changes in flow properties may be attributed to the formation of a percolated network of these high-density regions. (C) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.

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