Study of Tetrapodal ZnO-PDMS Composites: A Comparison of Fillers Shapes in Stiffness and Hydrophobicity Improvements

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Jin, Xin ; Deng, Mao ; Kaps, Sören ; Zhu, Xinwei ; Hölken, Iris ; Mess, Kristin ; Adelung, Rainer ; Mishra, Yogendra Kumar (2014)
  • Publisher: Public Library of Science
  • Journal: PLoS ONE, volume 9, issue 9 (issn: 1932-6203, eissn: 1932-6203)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC4160218, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106991
  • Subject: Biotechnology | Research Article | Biology and Life Sciences | Materials Science | Medicine | Engineering and Technology | Q | R | Physical Sciences | Material Properties | Science | Nanotechnology | Biomaterials

ZnO particles of different size and structures were used as fillers to modify the silicone rubber, in order to reveal the effect of the filler shape in the polymer composites. Tetrapodal shaped microparticles, short microfibers/whiskers, and nanosized spherical particles from ZnO have been used as fillers to fabricate the different ZnO-Silicone composites. The detailed microstructures of the fillers as well as synthesized composites using scanning electron microscopy have been presented here. The tensile elastic modulus and water contact angle, which are important parameters for bio-mimetic applications, of fabricated composites with different fillers have been measured and compared. Among all three types of fillers, tetrapodal shaped ZnO microparticles showed the best performance in terms of increase in hydrophobicity of material cross-section as well as the stiffness of the composites. It has been demonstrated that the tetrapodal shaped microparticles gain their advantage due to the special shape, which avoids agglomeration problems as in the case for nanoparticles, and the difficulty of achieving truly random distribution for whisker fillers.
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