Aggregate of nanoparticles: rheological and mechanical properties
College of Polymer Science and Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Polymer Materials Engineering, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610065, China
Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:114 doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-114Published: 3 February 2011
The understanding of the rheological and mechanical properties of nanoparticle aggregates is important for the application of nanofillers in nanocompoistes. In this work, we report a rheological study on the rheological and mechanical properties of nano-silica agglomerates in the form of gel network mainly constructed by hydrogen bonds. The elastic model for rubber is modified to analyze the elastic behavior of the agglomerates. By this modified elastic model, the size of the network mesh can be estimated by the elastic modulus of the network which can be easily obtained by rheology. The stress to destroy the aggregates, i.e., the yield stress (σy), and the elastic modulus (G') of the network are found to be depended on the concentration of nano-silica (ϕ, wt.%) with the power of 4.02 and 3.83, respectively. Via this concentration dependent behavior, we can extrapolate two important mechanical parameters for the agglomerates in a dense packing state (ϕ = 1): the shear modulus and the yield stress. Under large deformation (continuous shear flow), the network structure of the aggregates will experience destruction and reconstruction, which gives rise to fluctuations in the viscosity and a shear-thinning behavior.