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Investigation of Silica Nanoparticles Accumulated on the Surface of Polymer Nanocomposites Exposed to UV Radiation Using ICP-OES



Savelas A. Rabb, Lee L. Yu, Deborah S. Jacobs, Tinh Nguyen


Silica nanoparticles (nanosilica) are being utilized to enhance the mechanical performance of polymeric materials used in many industries. However, cumulative effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation will degrade the polymeric molecules, resulting in a potential for release of SiO2 nanoparticles into the environment. The health and environmental effects of the released nanosilica from polymer nanocomposites are not well understood. For this study, the surface accumulation of silica nanoparticles on the epoxy nanocomposite has increased after nearly two months of exposure to controlled degradation conditions at specified humidity, temperature, and UV radiation doses. Release of the SiO2 nanoparticles can also be observed after a relatively short (8 days) UV exposure. Both the surface accumulation and release of nanosilica have been attributed to photodegradation of the polymer matrix. An analytical approach using a 5 % (v/v) HF solution over a 5 min period has been employed to selectively attack silica nanoparticles on the surface of the nanocomposite film without extracting the same nanoparticles from the interior. The mass fraction of Si in the extracted solutions is measured using inductively coupled plasma – optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES). The results of this study will assist in establishing an accurate and predictive model for the release of SiO2 nanoparticles from polymer nanocomposites exposed to weathering environments.
Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology


nanocomposites, release, ICP-OES, silica, nanoparticles, UV radiation, surface accumulation


Rabb, S. , Yu, L. , Jacobs, D. and Nguyen, T. (2012), Investigation of Silica Nanoparticles Accumulated on the Surface of Polymer Nanocomposites Exposed to UV Radiation Using ICP-OES, Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (Accessed June 15, 2024)


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Created June 18, 2012, Updated March 27, 2017