The influence of surface modification on the structure and properties of a zinc oxide-filled poly(ethylene terephthalate)


Correspondence to: Yanchao Zhu, College of Chemistry, Jilin University, Changchun 130012, PR China. E-mail:


Hydrophobic zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles were successfully prepared by a one-step precipitation reaction in an aqueous solution of zinc sulfate and sodium hydroxide with stearic acid as the modifying agent. Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET)/ZnO nanocomposites were prepared by further in situ polymerization of purified terephthalic acid, ethylene glycol and the ZnO nanoparticles. The surface modification of ZnO and the microstructure and properties of the nanocomposites were investigated using relative contact angle measurements, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, transmission and scanning electron microscopies, thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry. Measurements of relative contact angle indicated that the surface-treated ZnO was hydrophobic. Compared to the nanocomposite filled with unmodified ZnO, a significant improvement in thermal stability and crystallinity was observed with the addition of 2 wt% surface-treated ZnO. The experimental results also suggested that the properties of the nanocomposites were correlated with the dispersion of ZnO in PET and the interfacial interactions between ZnO and PET matrix. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry