Gas transport properties of reverse selective nanocomposite materials
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The effect of dispersing discreet periclase (magnesium oxide) or brookite (titanium oxide) nanoparticles into poly(1-trimethylsilyl-1-propyne) (i.e., a super glassy polymer) and 1,2-polybutadiene (i.e., a rubbery polymer) has been examined. Particle dispersion has been investigated using atomic force microscopy and transmission electron microscopy to determine particle/aggregate size and distribution. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles dispersed into aggregates on the order of nanometers, as did magnesium oxide in 1,2-polybutadiene. However, the magnesium oxide filled poly(1-trimethylsilyl-1-propyne) did not exhibit nanoparticle aggregates below approximately one micron in characteristic dimensions. Nanocomposite transport properties were studied, where permeability and solubility coefficients were determined for light gases with increasing pressure, and diffusion coefficients were calculated from the solution-diffusion model. The permeability of light gases in the heterogeneous films increased with increasing particle loading. Depending on particle loading, brookite filled nanocomposite light gas permeability increased to over four times that of the unfilled polymer, whereas at high periclase loadings the nanocomposites exhibited light gas permeabilities in excess of an order of magnitude higher than the unfilled materials. Even at these high loadings the light gas selectivities were higher than predicted for films containing transmembrane defects. Solubility was relatively unaffected by the void volume concentration, although it did increase to some extent depending on the nanoparticle concentration. Wide angle X-ray diffraction, nuclear magnetic resonance, and Fourier transform infra-red experiments were used to determine if the nanoparticles remained stable during film preparation. TiO₂ nanoparticles did not appear to react with water, the polymer matrixes or test gases used in this research. However, under certain circumstances, periclase reacted with adventitious water to form brucite. A desilylation reaction occurred when brucite was exposed to polymers or small molecule compounds that contained a trimethylsilyl group attached to a conjugated organic backbone. This reaction caused certain disubstituted polyacetylenes to become insoluble in common organic solvents.