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Interfacial Contributions in Nanodiamond-Reinforced Polymeric Fibers
The Journal of Physical Chemistry B  (IF2.991),  Pub Date : 2021-09-05, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.1c03361
Prajesh Adhikari, Pallav K. Jani, Lilian C. Hsiao, Orlando J. Rojas, Saad A. Khan

We study the interfacial energy parameters that explain the reinforcement of polymers with nanodiamond (ND) and the development of mechanical strength of electrospun ND-reinforced composites. Thermodynamic parameters such as the wettability ratio, work of spreading and dispersion/aggregation transition are used to derive a criterion to predict the dispersibility of carboxylated ND (cND) in polymeric matrices. Such a criterion for dispersion (Dc) is applied to electrospun cND-containing poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA), polyacrylonitrile (PAN), and polystyrene (PS) fiber composites. The shifts in glass transition temperature (ΔTg), used as a measure of polymer/cND interfacial interactions and hence the reinforcement capability of cNDs, reveal a direct correlation with the thermodynamic parameter Dc in the order of PAN < PS < PVA. Contrary to expectation, however, the tensile strength of the electrospun fibers correlates with the Dc and ΔTg only for semicrystalline polymers (PAN < PVA) while the amorphous PS displays a maximum reinforcement with cND. Such conflicting results reveal a synergy that is not captured by thermodynamic considerations alone but also factor in the contributions of polymer/cND interface stress transfer efficiency. Our findings open the possibility for tailoring the interfacial interactions in polymer–ND fiber composites to achieve maximum mechanical reinforcement.