Poly (ether amide) and silica nanocomposites derived from sol–gel process
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The sol–gel derived chemically combined organic–inorganic nanocomposites were synthesized from poly(etheramide) and tetraethoxysilane. Reaction of a mixture of 4-aminophenyl ether and 1,3-phenyldiamine with terephthaloyl chloride (TPC) in dimethylacetamide (DMAc) produced the amide chains. These chains were modified with carbonyl chloride end groups using a slight excess of diacid chloride and were then reacted with aminophenyl trimethoxysilane (APTMOS), where the amine group reacted with carbonyl chloride end groups. Hydrolysis/condensation of tetraethoxysilane (TEOS) and alkoxy groups present in APTMOS developed bonding between the polyamide chains and inorganic silica network generated in situ. By changing the relative proportions of the polymer solution and the amount of TEOS, the composition of hybrid films was varied. Thin hybrid films with various concentrations of silica network obtained after evaporation of the solvent were subjected to mechanical, dynamic mechanical thermal and morphological measurements. The results indicate a gradual increase in the modulus (3.84 GPa) and tensile strength (121 MPa) up to 15-wt.% silica relative to the pure polyamide. The elongation at break point and toughness gradually decrease with addition of silica content. These hybrids were found to be thermally stable up to a temperature of 500 °C. The weight retained above 800 °C was roughly proportional to amount of silica in the matrix. The glass transition temperature and the storage moduli increased with increasing silica concentration. The maximum increase in the Tg value (358 °C) was observed with 15-wt.% silica. Scanning electron micrographs indicated the uniform distribution of silica in the composites with an average particle size ranging from 9 to 47 nm.