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Flexible Poly(vinyl chloride) Nanocomposites Reinforced with Hyperbranched Polyglycerol–Functionalized Graphene Oxide for Enhanced Gas Barrier Performance

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-09-07, 00:00 authored by Kyu Won Lee, Jae Woo Chung, Seung-Yeop Kwak
Herein, we describe the preparation of flexible poly­(vinyl chloride) (PVC) containing hyperbranched polyglycerol (HPG)-functionalized graphene oxide (HGO) as a reinforcing filler and reveal that the obtained composites exhibit greatly improved gas barrier properties. Moreover, we show that HGO, synthesized by surface-initiated ring-opening polymerization of glycidol followed by esterification with butyric anhydride, exists as individual exfoliated nanosheets possessing abundant functional groups capable of interacting with PVC. A comparative study of butyl-terminated graphene oxide (BGO) reveals that functionalization with HPG is of key importance for achieving a uniform dispersion of HGO in the PVC matrix and results in strong interfacial interactions between HGO and PVC. As a result, flexible PVC/HGO nanocomposite films exhibit significantly enhanced tensile strength and toughness compared to those of neat plasticized PVC while maintaining its inherent stretchability. Furthermore, the two-dimensional planar structure and homogeneous distribution of HGO in PVC/HGO nanocomposites make gas molecules follow a highly tortuous path, resulting in remarkably reduced oxygen permeability, which is more than 60% lower than that of neat plasticized PVC. Consequently, HGO is demonstrated to be promising component of flexible and gas-impermeable PVC films for a wide range of applications.