Synthesis of polystyrene coated SiC nanowires as fillers in a polyurethane matrix for electromechanical conversion

Abstract : Grafting of polystyrene (PS) from silica coating of silicon carbide nanowires (SiCNWs) has been performed by a two-step nitroxide mediated free radical polymerization (NMP) of styrene. First, an alkoxyamine based on N-tert-butyl-N-(1-diethylphosphono-2,2-dimethylpropyl) nitroxide (DEPN) was covalently attached onto NWs through free surface silanol groups. To immobilize the alkoxyamine initiator on the silica surface, alkoxylamine was formed in situ by the simultaneous reaction of polymerizable acryloxy propyl trimethoxysilane (APTMS), azobis isobutyronitrile (AIBN), and DEPN, which was used as a radical trap. Polystyrene chains with controlled molecular weights and narrow polydispersity were then grown from the alkoxyamine-functionalized NWs surface in the presence of a 'free' sacrificial styrylDEPN alkoxyamine. Both the initiator and polystyrene chains were characterized by FTIR and C-13 solid-state NMR and quantified by TGA. Ensuing nanocomposites were characterized by FEG-SEM, TEM and Raman spectroscopy. EDX analysis performed on functionalized nanowires during FEG-SEM analysis also gave evidence of grafting by a strong increase in the average C/Si atomic ratio. Incorporation of 2 wt% NWs into the polyurethane (PU) matrix has been carried out to prepare homogeneous nanocomposite films. The electric field induced thickness strain response has been investigated for the polystyrene-grafted silica coated SiC NWs (PU-SiC@SiO2@PS) nanocomposites and compared to pure polyurethane film and PU-SiC@SiO2 nanocomposite without polystyrene grafting. At a moderate electric field of 10 V mu m(-1), SiC@SiO2@PS loading increased the strain level of pure PU by a factor of 2.2. This improvement came partially due to polystyrene grafting since PU-SiC@SiO2 films showed only a 1.7 times increase. The observed higher strain response of these nanocomposites makes them very attractive for micro-electromechanical applications
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 19, 2011 - 2:38:16 PM
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Andrzej Rybak, Micheline Warde, Emmanuel Beyou, Philippe Chaumont, Mikhael Bechelany, et al.. Synthesis of polystyrene coated SiC nanowires as fillers in a polyurethane matrix for electromechanical conversion. Nanotechnology, Institute of Physics, 2010, pp.145610. ⟨10.1088/0957-4484/21/14/145610⟩. ⟨hal-00594297⟩

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