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Functionalized graphene with polymer toughener as novel interface modifier for property-tailored polylactic acid/graphene nanocomposites

Yu Fu, LinShu Liu, Jinwen Zhang, William C. Hiscox
Polymer 2014 v.55 no.24 pp. 6381-6389
adhesion, epoxides, graphene, polylactic acid, polymer nanocomposites, thermal properties, viscoelasticity
In this work, an effective strategy for engineering the interfacial compatibility between graphene and polylactic acid (PLA) was developed by manipulating the functionalization of graphene and introducing an epoxy-containing elastomer modifier. Curing between the functional groups of the modified graphene and the epoxy groups of the elastomer modifier resulted in controlled dispersion and distribution of graphene in the composite system and hence improved the interfacial adhesion between PLA and graphene. Effects of different graphene functionalization with polymer toughener on morphology, viscoelasticity, and thermal properties of the resulting PLA nanocomposites were thoroughly examined. The resulting percolated structures were the origin of the improved properties of PLA/graphene nanocomposites. The mechanism on property tailoring from interface engineering through dual modifiers is also proposed. Overall, the insight into the interface engineering between the functionalized graphene and the matrix through an elastomer modifier offers a novel way for the future design of graphene polymer nanocomposites.