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Molecular View on Mechanical Reinforcement in Polymer Nanocomposites



Ruikun Sun, Matthew Melton, Niloofar Safaie, Jr. Ferrier, Shiwang Cheng, Yun Liu, Xiaobing Zuo, Yangyang Wang


The microscopic origin of mechanical enhancement in polymer nanocomposites (PNCs) is investigated through the combination of rheology and small-angle neutron scattering. It is shown that in the absence of an extensive particle network, the molecular deformation of polymer chains dominates the stress response on intermediate time scales. Quantitative analyses of small-angle neutron scattering spectra, however, reveal no enhanced structural anisotropy in the PNCs, compared with the pristine polymers under the same deformation conditions. These results demonstrate that the mechanical reinforcement of PNCs is not due to the molecular overstraining, but instead a redistribution of strain field in the polymer matrix, akin to the classical picture of hydrodynamic effect of nanoparticles.
Physical Review Letters


SANS, polymer nanocomposites, two dimensional analysis


Sun, R. , Melton, M. , Safaie, N. , Ferrier, J. , Cheng, S. , Liu, Y. , Zuo, X. and Wang, Y. (2021), Molecular View on Mechanical Reinforcement in Polymer Nanocomposites, Physical Review Letters (Accessed June 21, 2024)


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Created March 16, 2021, Updated April 13, 2022