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Title:Rheology and Microstructure of Filled Polymer Melts
Author(s):Anderson, Benjamin John
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Zukoski, Charles F.
Department / Program:Chemical Engineering
Discipline:Chemical Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Engineering, Materials Science
Abstract:The states of particle dispersion in polymer nanocomposite melts are studied through rheological characterization of nanocomposite melt mechanical properties and small angle X-ray scattering measurement of the particle microstructure. The particle microstructure probed with scattering is related to bulk flow mechanics to determine the origin of slow dynamics in these complex dispersions: whether a gel or glass transition or a slowing down of dispersing phase dynamics. These studies were conducted to understand polymer mediated particle-particle interactions and potential particle-polymer phase separation. The phase behavior of the dispersion will be governed by enthalpic and entropic contributions. A variety of phases are expected: homogeneous fluid, phase separated, or non-equilibrium gel. The effects of dispersion control parameters, namely particle volume fraction, polymer molecular weight, and polymer-particle surface affinity, on the phase behavior of 44 nm silica dispersions are studied in low molecular weight polyethylene oxide (PEO), polyethylene oxide dimethylether (PEODME), and polytetrahydrofuran (PTHF). Scattering measurements of the particle second virial coefficient in PEO melts indicates repulsive particles by a value slightly greater than unity. In PEO nanocomposites, dispersion dynamics slow down witnessed by a plateau in the elastic modulus as the particle separation approaches the length scale of the polymer radius of gyration. As the polymer molecular weight is increased, the transition shifts to lower particle volume fractions. Below polymer entanglement, the slow dynamics mimics that of a colloidal glass by the appearance of two relaxation times in the viscous modulus that display power law scaling with volume fraction. Above entanglement, the slow dynamics is qualitatively different resembling the behavior of a gelled suspension yet lacking any sign of scattering from particle agglomerates. As polymer molecular weight is increased at a fixed volume fraction, two strain yielding events emerge. Further particle loading leads to the formation of a particle-polymer network and the onset of brittle mechanical behavior. The performance of PEO nanocomposites is contrasted by PEODME and PTHF nanocomposites where a change in the polymer segment-surface activity changes the slow dynamics of the nanocomposite and the microstructure of particles in the melt. Slow dynamics and the particle microstructure indicate a gelled suspension as volume fraction is raised with particles in or near contact and support the turning on of particle attractions in the melt.
Issue Date:2008
Description:214 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3347272
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2008

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