Graphene (GP)-based polymer nanocomposites have attracted considerable scientific attention due to its pronounced improvement in mechanical, thermal and electrical properties compared with pure polymers. However, the preparation of well-dispersed and high-quality GP reinforced polymer composites remains a challenge. In this paper, a simple and facile approach for preparation of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) functionalized GP (GPMMA) via in situ free radical polymerization is reported. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), X-ray photoelectron spectra (XPS), Raman, transmission electron microscope (TEM) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) are used to confirm the successful grafting of PMMA chains onto the GP sheets. Composite films are prepared by incorporating different amounts of GPMMA into the PMMA matrix through solution-casting method. Compared with pure PMMA, PMMA/GPMMA composites show simultaneously improved Young's modulus, tensile stress, elongation at break and thermal stability by addition of only 0.5 wt% GPMMA. The excellent reinforcement is attributed to good dispersion of high-quality GPMMA and strong interfacial adhesion between GPMMA and PMMA matrix as evidenced by scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of the fracture surfaces. Consequently, this simple protocol has great potential in the preparation of various high-performance polymer composites.
Graphical abstract Highlights
► Functionalization of solvent exfoliated graphene by in situ polymerization. ► A simple and scalable method for preparing high-quality graphene. ► Functionalized graphene can be well-dispersed and have a strong interfacial adhesion with the polymer matrix. ► The nanocomposites exhibit a remarkable improvement of thermal and mechanical properties.
Jialiang Wang, Zixing Shi, Yu Ge, Yan Wang, Jinchen Fan, Jie Yin
Available online 29 May 2013
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