Effect of highly dispersible zirconia nanoparticles on the properties of UV-curable poly(urethane-acrylate) coatings
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Highly crystalline and dispersible zirconia nanoparticles, ex situ synthesized from a solvothermal reaction of zirconium(IV) isopropoxide isopropanol complex in benzyl alcohol, were functionalized with 3-(trimethoxysilyl)propyl methacrylate and blended with UV-curable urethane-acrylate formulations to fabricate poly(urethane-acrylate)/zirconia (PUA/ZrO2) nanocomposite coatings. A critical ZrO2 concentration of 20 wt% was observed for the evolutions of both the structure and properties of the nanocomposites as a function of ZrO2 content. Below the critical concentration, completely transparent nanocomposite film was obtained and the nanocomposites exhibited increasing final carbon–carbon double bond conversion, refractive index, hardness, elastic modulus, and thermal stability as ZrO2 content increased. However, serious agglomeration of ZrO2 nanoparticles occurred at 25 wt% of ZrO2, which decreased final conversion, transparency and hardness, and thermal stability of the nanocomposite film. These results clearly reveal that the performance of UV-curable nanocomposites is strongly dependent on the dispersion of nanoparticles.
KeywordsBenzyl Alcohol Nanocomposite Film Nanocomposite Coating ZrO2 Nanoparticles ZrO2 Content
We are grateful for the financial support from the New Century Excellent Talent Foundation of the Ministry of Education of China (NCET-07-0210), National Nature Science Foundation (No. 50703005) of China and Shanghai Leading Academic Discipline Project (No. B113).
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