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Resolving Segmental Polymer Dynamics in Nanocomposites by Incoherent Neutron Spin–Echo Spectroscopy

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-06-04, 18:42 authored by Dafne Musino, Julian Oberdisse, Bela Farago, Angel Alegria, Anne-Caroline Genix
The segmental dynamics of styrene–butadiene nanocomposites with embedded silica nanoparticles (NPs, ca. 20 vol. %) has been studied by broadband dielectric (BDS) and neutron spin–echo spectroscopy (NSE). It is shown by BDS that overlapping contributions only allow us to conclude on a range of distributions of relaxation times in simplified industrial nanocomposites formed with highly polydisperse NPs. For comparison, structurally similar but less aggregated colloidal nanocomposites have a well-defined distribution of relaxation times due to the reduced influence of interfacial polarization processes. This distribution is widened with respect to the neat polymer, without change in the position of the maximum and at most a small slowing down visible in the average time. We then demonstrate that incoherent NSE can be used to resolve small modifications of segmental dynamics of the industrial samples. By carefully choosing the q-vector of the measurement, experiments with fully hydrogenated polymer give access to the self-dynamics of the polymer in the presence of silica on the scale of approximately 1 nm. Our high-resolution measurements show that the segmental motion is slightly but systematically slowed also by the presence of the industrial filler NPs.

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