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Graphene oxide/waterborne polyurethane nanocoatings: effects of graphene oxide content on performance properties


Graphene oxide (GO) is a good nanofiller candidate for waterborne coatings because of its outstanding physical and mechanical properties, good dispersibility in water, and low cost relative to graphene. Here, we report on the performance of a one-part, waterborne polyurethane (WPU) nanocoating formulated with four different GO loadings ([0.4% to 2.0%] by mass). The degree of GO dispersion/adhesion was evaluated using scanning electron microscopy, laser scanning confocal microscopy, and Raman microscopy. Nanocoating performance was evaluated using a dynamic mechanical thermal analyzer for mechanical properties, a customized coulometric permeation apparatus for oxygen barrier properties, a combustion microcalorimeter for flammability, a hot disk analyzer for thermal conductivity, thermogravimetric analysis for thermal stability, and a moisture sorption analyzer for water uptake. The results show that GO sheets were well dispersed in, and have good adhesion to, WPU. At the higher mass loadings ([1.2% or 2%] by mass), GO increased the modulus and yield strength of WPU by 300% and 200%, respectively, increased the thermal conductivity by 38%, reduced the burning heat release rate (flammability) by 43%, and reduced the oxygen permeability by up to sevenfold. The presence of GO, however, increased water vapor uptake at high humidity; the moisture content of 2% mass loading GO/WPU nanocoatings at 90% RH was almost twice that of the moisture content for unfilled WPU. Overall, with the exception of water uptake at very high humidity (> 70% RH), the observed improvements in physical and mechanical properties combined with the ease of processing suggest that GO is a viable nanofiller for WPU coatings.

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We would like to thank Professor Rodney S. Ruoff and Dr. Sungjin Park of University of Texas at Austin, TX, for providing the graphite oxide samples, and Bayer MaterialScience LLC for providing the WPU coating.

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Bernard, C., Goodwin, D.G., Gu, X. et al. Graphene oxide/waterborne polyurethane nanocoatings: effects of graphene oxide content on performance properties. J Coat Technol Res 17, 255–269 (2020).

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  • Graphene oxide
  • Nanocoatings
  • Polymer nanocomposites
  • Performance properties
  • Waterborne polyurethane
  • Graphene oxide loading