• poly(urethane acrylate) (PUA);
  • tetrapod ZnO whisker (TZnO-W);
  • mechanical properties;
  • barrier properties


Tetrapod zinc oxide whiskers (TZnO-Ws) were successfully synthesized via a thermal oxidation method and confirmed using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy. A series of poly(urethane acrylate) (PUA)/TZnO-W composite films with various TZnO-W contents were prepared via a UV curing method and their physical properties were investigated to understand their possible use as packaging materials. The morphological, thermal, mechanical, antibacterial and barrier properties of the PUA/TZnO-W composite films were interpreted as a function of TZnO-W content. The thermal stability, barrier properties and antibacterial properties of the composite films, which were strongly dependent upon their chemical and morphological structure, were enhanced as the TZnO-W content increased. The oxygen transmission rate and water vapor transmission rate decreased from 614 to 161 cm3 m−2 per day and 28.70 to 28.16 g m−2 per day, respectively. However, the mechanical strength of the films decreased due to the low interfacial interaction and poor dispersion with high TZnO-W loading. The enhanced barrier properties and good antibacterial properties of the PUA/TZnO-W composite films indicate that these materials are potentially suitable for many packaging applications. However, further studies are needed to increase the compatibility of polymer matrix and filler. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry