Polyurea with hybrid polymer grafted nanoparticles: A parametric study

TitlePolyurea with hybrid polymer grafted nanoparticles: A parametric study
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsK Holzworth, G Williams, B Arman, Z Guan, G Arya, and S Nemat-Nasser
Conference NameASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Proceedings (IMECE)
Date Published12/2012

The basis of this research is to mitigate shock through material design. In this work, we seek to develop an understanding of parametric variations in polyurea-based nanocomposite materials through experimental characterization and computational modeling. Blast-mitigating applications often utilize polyurea due to its excellent thermo-mechanical properties. Polyurea is a microphase-separated segmented block copolymer formed by the rapid reaction of an isocyanate component and an amine component. Block copolymers exhibit unique properties as a result of their phase-separated morphology, which restricts dissimilar block components to microscopic length scales. The soft segments form a continuous matrix reinforced by the hard segments that are randomly dispersed as microdomains. The physical properties of the separate phases influence the overall properties of the polyurea. While polyurea offers a useful starting point, control over crystallite size and morphology is limited. For compositing, the blending approach allows superb control of particle size, shape, and density; however, the hard/soft interface is typically weak for simple blends. Here, we overcome this issue by developing hybrid polymer grafted nanoparticles, which have adjustable exposed functionality to control both their spatial distribution and interface. These nano-particles have tethered polymer chains that can interact with their surrounding environment and provide a method to control well defined and enhanced nanocomposites. This approach allows us to adjust a number of variables related to the hybrid polymer grafted nanoparticles including: core size and shape, core material, polymer chain length, polymer chain density, and monomer type. In this work, we embark on a parametric study focusing on the effect of silica nanoparticle size, polymer chain length, and polymer chain density. Preliminary results from experimental characterization and computational modeling indicate that the dynamic mechanical properties of the material can be significantly altered through such parametric modifications. These efforts are part of an ongoing initiative to develop elastomeric composites with optimally designed compositions and characteristics to manage blast-induced stress-wave energy. Copyright © 2012 by ASME.