Polyamide and polystyrene particles were coated with titanium dioxide films by atomic layer deposition (ALD) and then melt-compounded to form polymer nanocomposites. The rheological properties of the ALD-created nanocomposite materials were characterized with a melt flow indexer, a melt flow spiral mould, and a rotational rheometer. The results suggest that the melt flow properties of polyamide nanocomposites were markedly better than those of pure polyamide and polystyrene nanocomposites. Such behavior was shown to originate in an uncontrollable decrease in the polyamide molecular weight, likely affected by a high thin-film impurity content, as shown in gel permeation chromatography (GPC) and scanning electron microscope (SEM) equipped with an energy-dispersive spectrometer. Transmission electron microscope image showed that a thin film grew on both studied polymer particles, and that subsequent melt-compounding was successful, producing well dispersed ribbon-like titanium dioxide with the titanium dioxide filler content ranging from 0.06 to 1.12wt%. Even though we used nanofillers with a high aspect ratio, they had only a minor effect on the tensile and flexural properties of the polystyrene nanocomposites. The mechanical behavior of polyamide nanocomposites was more complex because of the molecular weight degradation. Our approach here to form polymeric nanocomposites is one way to tailor ceramic nanofillers and form homogenous polymer nanocomposites with minimal work-related risks in handling powder form nanofillers. However, further research is needed to gauge the commercial potential of ALD-created nanocomposite materials.
- Atomic layer deposition
- Titanium dioxide