Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Polymers and Composites

pp 1-16

Date: View Latest Version

Surface Modifiers for Use with Particulate Fillers

  • Christopher DeArmittAffiliated withPhantom Plastics LLC, 2 Denison Lane
  • , Roger RothonAffiliated withRothon Consultants, 3 Orchard Croft Email author 


Filler Surface Modifier Fatty acid Stearic acid Organo-silane Organo-titanate Zirco-aluminate


Except for carbon blacks, the surface of commonly used particulate fillers is suboptimal for maximizing processing and properties of the polymer composites in which they are used. This is often remedied by treating the surface to enhance wetting and reaction with the polymer matrix. Surface modifiers are molecules which are chemically attached to the particle surface to improve compatibility. This differentiates them from weakly attached molecules that are physically adsorbed.


The surface of particulate fillers plays a vital role in determining both the processing behavior and properties of composites. Two factors are involved in the interaction between the filler and polymer: wetting and adhesion. The ease with which their surface is wetted by the polymer governs how easily they can be incorporated and how well they disperse. The strength of the interaction between the surface and the polymer determines the magnitude of many of the final composite properties.

This is an excerpt from the content