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An investigation of the properties of poly(dimethylsiloxane)-bioinspired silica hybrids

Patwardhan, S V and Taori, V P and Hassan, M and Agashe, N R and Franklin, J E and Beaucage, G and Mark, J E and Clarson, S J (2006) An investigation of the properties of poly(dimethylsiloxane)-bioinspired silica hybrids. European Polymer Journal, 42 (1). pp. 167-178. ISSN 0014-3057

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Elastomers typically require the incorporation of reinforcing fillers in order to improve their mechanical properties. For commercial silicone systems silica and titania are typically used as fillers. Fumed and precipitated silica are made on an industrial scale for many applications; however, we have shown recently that biological and synthetic macromolecules can generate new silica structures using a bioinspired route. Herein we have incorporated bioinspired silica fillers into poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) elastomers and investigated their mechanical, morphological and thermal properties as a function of filler loading. The equilibrium stress-strain characteristics of the PDMS-bioinspired silica hybrids were determined as a function of bioinspired filler loading and the Mooney-Rivlin constants (2C(1) and 2C(2)) were calculated. The thermal characteristics, in particular glass transition temperatures (T-g) and melting points (T-m), of the PDMS-bioinspired silica hybrids were characterized using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The thermal stability of these hybrid materials were investigated using thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The morphology of the samples was characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and the filler dispersion was characterized using ultra small angle X-ray scattering (USAXS) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Although spherical silica particles were used here, we have demonstrated elsewhere that this bioinspired synthetic route also enables highly asymmetric silica structures to be prepared such as fibres and sheets. This methodology therefore offers the interesting possibility of preparing new hybrid systems where the properties are highly anisotropic. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.