Synthesis of polystyrene nanoparticles “armoured” with nanodimensional graphene oxide sheets by miniemulsion polymerization

Authors

  • S. H. Che Man,

    1. Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design (CAMD), School of Chemical Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
    2. Department of Polymer Engineering, Faculty of Chemical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
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  • Stuart C. Thickett,

    1. Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design (CAMD), School of Chemical Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
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  • Michael R. Whittaker,

    1. Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design (CAMD), School of Chemical Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
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  • Per B. Zetterlund

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design (CAMD), School of Chemical Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
    • Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design (CAMD), School of Chemical Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
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Abstract

Polystyrene particles “armoured” with nanosized graphene oxide (GO) sheets have been prepared by aqueous miniemulsion polymerization of styrene, exploiting the amphiphilic properties of GO in the absence of conventional surfactants. The nanoscale GO sheets were prepared from graphite nanofibers of diameter approximately 100 nm based on a novel procedure, thus effectively ensuring the absence of larger sheets. Polymerization proceeded to high conversion with minor coagulation, with final number-average particle diameters of approximately 500 nm, but relatively broad particle size distributions. Scanning electron microscopy analysis revealed particles with a textured surface, consistent with the expected morphology. Interestingly, analysis of GO sheets recovered from the polymerization revealed that the GO sheets are partially reduced during the polymerization—approximately 50% of the initial carboxyl groups of the GO were lost, consistent with some loss in colloidal stability at high conversion. The overall approach offers a convenient and attractive synthetic route to novel graphene-based polymeric nanostructures. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem, 2013

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