Thermal and dielectric studies of PEG/C/AST nanocomposites



C/AST/PEG nanocomposites with fumed AST (89 wt % Al2O3, 10 wt % SiO2, 1 wt % TiO2), activated carbon, and poly(ethylene glycol), PEG, were prepared in a wide range of PEG and C/AST (1 : 9) contents. Thermal transitions (mainly in a PEG phase) were investigated by differential scanning calorimetry. The dynamic behavior was investigated by thermally stimulated depolarization current and dielectric relaxation spectroscopy. The PEG crystallinity degree decreases in the nanocomposites, in particular at CPEG ≤ 40 wt %. A significant fraction of amorphous polymer is immobilized at a filler surface making no contribution to the glass transition, whereas the rest exhibits a lower glass transition temperature, when compared with bulk polymer, because of loosened molecular packing of the chains. Several relaxations arising from the polymer matrix, the filler, and their combination were identified and analyzed. The segmental α-relaxation of the PEG matrix was found to become faster in the nanocomposites. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013