Polymer/inorganic nanocomposites were significant hybrid materials because of their unique properties. The surface of bare nanoparticles (b-TiO2) was modified by aminopropyl trimethoxy silane to obtain grafted TiO2 (g-TiO2) nanoparticles for the improvement of nanoparticles dispersion. The b-TiO2 and resulting g-TiO2 nanoparticles were introduced into poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) matrix to prepare PCL/TiO2 nanocomposites by in situ polymerization. The effects of b-TiO2 and g-TiO2 nanoparticles on the structure, morphology, and properties of nanocomposites were characterized and compared. The results showed that the crystalline structure of PCL matrix was not affected significantly by adding b-TiO2 or g-TiO2 nanoparticles. The g-TiO2 nanoparticles had a finer dispersion and better compatibility than bare TiO2. The introduction of g-TiO2 into PCL matrix increased the crystallization temperature and improved thermal stability of the nanocomposites with respect to untreated TiO2. The surface-treated nanoparticles played an important role in strengthening mechanical properties of the nanocomposites because of its well dispersion and strong interfacial interaction between the nanoparticles and PCL matrix. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2012
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