An Atomic Force Microscopy Study of the Interactions Involving Polymers and Silane Networks
Silane coupling agents have been frequently used as interfacial agents in polymer composites to improve interfacial strength and resistance to fluid migration. Although the capability of these agents in improving properties and performance of composites has been reported, there are still many uncertainties regarding the processing-structure-property relationships and the mechanisms of coupling developed by silane agents. In this work, an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) was used to measure interactions between polymers and silica substrates, where silane networks with a series ofdifferent structures were processed. The influence of the structure of silane networks on the interactions with polymers was studied and used to determine the mechanisms involved in the coupling phenomenon. The AFM results showed that phenomena such as chain penetration, entanglements, intersegment bonding, chain conformation in the vicinities of rigid surfaces were identified as being relevant for the overall processes of adhesion and adsorption of polymeric chains within a silane network. AFM adhesion curves showed that penetration of polymeric chains through a more open silane network can lead to higher levels of interactions between polymer and silane agents.
Atomicforce microscopy, silane coupling agents, interface.
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