Exceptionally strong, stiff and hard hybrid material based on an elastomer and isotropically shaped ceramic nanoparticles


In this work the fabrication of hard, stiff and strong nanocomposites based on polybutadiene and iron oxide nanoparticles is presented. The nanocomposites are fabricated via a general concept for mechanically superior nanocomposites not based on the brick and mortar structure, thus on globular nanoparticles with nanosized organic shells. For the fabrication of the composites oleic acid functionalized iron oxide nanoparticles are decorated via ligand exchange with an α,ω-polybutadiene dicarboxylic acid. The functionalized particles were processed at 145 °C. Since polybutadiene contains double bonds the nanocomposites obtained a crosslinked structure which was enhanced by the presence of oxygen or sulfur. It was found that the crosslinking and filler percolation yields high elastic moduli of approximately 12–20 GPa and hardness of 15–18 GPa, although the polymer volume fraction is up to 40%. We attribute our results to a catalytically enhanced crosslinking reaction of the polymer chains induced by oxygen or sulfur and to the microstructure of the nanocomposite.
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