Graphene-reinforced biodegradable poly(ethylene succinate) nanocomposites prepared by in situ polymerization


Correspondence to: J. Ji (E-mail:


In this study, poly(ethylene succinate)(PES)/graphene nanocomposites were facilely prepared by in situ melt polycondensation of succinic acid and ethylene glycol in which contained well dispersed graphene oxide (GO). Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), GPC, TGA, and XRD were used to characterize the composites. The FTIR spectra and TGA measurement confirmed that PES chains had been successfully grafted onto GO sheets along with the thermal reduction of GO to graphene during the polymerization. GPC results indicated that increasing amounts of graphene caused a slight decrease in number average molecular weight of PES matrix when polymerization time was kept constant. The content of grafted PES chains on graphene sheets was also determined by TGA and was to be about 60%, which made the graphene sheets homogeneously dispersed in the PES matrix, as demonstrated by SEM and XRD investigations. Furthermore, the incorporation of thermally reduced graphene improved the thermal stability and mechanical properties of the composites significantly. With the addition of 0.5 wt % graphene, onset decomposition temperature of the composite was increased by 12°C, and a 45% improvement in tensile strength and 60% in elongation at break were also achieved. The enhanced performance of the composites is mainly attributed to the uniform dispersion of graphene in the polymer matrix and the improved interfacial interactions between both components. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 130: 3212–3220, 2013