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Keywords:

  • polyurethanes;
  • silicas;
  • structure-property relations;
  • mechanical properties;
  • microscopy

Abstract

A novel method was used to synthesis nanosilica/waterborne polyurethane (WPU) hybrids by in situ hydrolysis and condensation of tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS) and/or 3-aminopropyltriethoxylsilane bonding at the end of the WPU molecular chain. The hybrid was characterized by scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), transmission electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The results showed that the nanosilica/WPU hybrids with well-dispersed nanosilica particles were synthesized, in which the particles had typical diameters of about 50 nm. In addition, XPS and FTIR analyses demonstrated that chemical interaction occurred between WPU and silica. The effects of TEOS on surface wettability, water resistance, mechanical strength, and thermal properties of the hybrid were also evaluated by contact angle measurements, water absorption tests, mechanical tests, and differential scanning calorimetry, respectively. An increase in advancing contact angles, water resistance, and tensile strength, as well as decrease in elongation at break and glass transition temperature, were obtained with the addition of TEOS. Water absorption decreased from 17.3 to 5.5%. The tensile strength increased to a maximum of 29.7 MPa, an increase of about 34%. Elongations at break of the hybrids decreased 191%. These results were attributed to the effects of the nanosilica and the chemical interaction between WPU and silica. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013