Titanate nanotubes for reinforcement of a poly(ethylene oxide)/chitosan polymer matrix

Dmitry Bavykin, Jurgita Zekonyte, Ruben Porras, Frank C. Walsh, Robert J.K. Wood

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    Soft polyethylene oxide (PEO)/chitosan mixtures, reinforced with hard titanate nanotubes (TiNTs) by co-precipitation from aqueous solution, have been used to produce compact coatings by the 'drop-cast' method, using water soluble PEO polymer and stable, aqueous colloidal solutions of TiNTs. The effects of the nanotube concentration and their length on the hardness and modulus of the prepared composite have been studied using nanoindentation and nanoscratch techniques. The uniformity of TiNT dispersion within the polymer matrix has been studied using transmission electron microscopy (TEM). A remarkable increase in hardness and reduced Young's modulus of the composites, compared to pure polymer blends, has been observed at a TiNT concentration of 25 wt %. The short (up to 30 min) ultrasound treatment of aqueous solutions containing polymers and a colloidal TiNT mixture prior to drop casting has resulted in some improvements in both hardness and reduced Young's modulus of dry composite films, probably due to a better dispersion of ceramic nanotubes within the matrix. However, further (more than 1 h) treatment of the mixture with ultrasound resulted in a deterioration of the mechanical properties of the composite accompanied by a shortening of the nanotubes, as observed by the TEM.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number195706
    Number of pages10
    Issue number19
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2016


    • nanotubes
    • polymer nanocomposites
    • composite coating
    • drop-cast
    • PEO
    • titanium oxide


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