The latex monodisperse polystyrene (PS) colloids are important for different advanced applications (e.g. in coating, biotechnology etc.). However, the size dependency of their structural properties that impacts the characteristics of the nanocomposites composed thereof is largely unknown. Here, monodisperse PS nanoparticles (MPNPs) are synthesized via emulsion polymerization in five sizes (50, 150, 300, 350, and 450 nm). The size of the PS MPNPs is tailored by controlling the reaction time, temperature, and amount of surfactant and initiator. The correlation between the particle size and structural properties of the PS MPNPs is established by different thermomechanical and optical characterizations. The smaller particles (50 and 150 nm) show a lower glass transition (Tg) and thermal decomposition temperature and a lower Raman peak intensity. Yet, they trigger a higher IR absorption, thanks to a larger surface area. When incorporated in a polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) matrix, the smaller particles impart the resulting nanocomposite a higher tensile strength, and elastic and storage moduli. Whereas, they decline the elongation and loss factor. The very few examples of the MPNPs incorporated polymeric nanocomposites have been unstudied from this perspective. Thus, these tangible knowledge can profit scalable production of this kind of nanocomposite materials for different applications in a cost/energy efficient manner.
- Materials science
- Nanoscale materials