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Zhang X.,Lamar University | Yan X.,Lamar University | Guo J.,Lamar University | Liu Z.,Auburn University | And 10 more authors.
Journal of Materials Chemistry C | Year: 2015

For the liquid epoxy nanosuspensions with both fibril and spherical polypyrrole (PPy) nanostructures, a stronger PPy nanofibers/epoxy interaction and more temperature stable behavior with a lower flow activation energy of nanosuspensions with nanofibers (54.34 kJ mol-1) than that with nanospheres (71.15 kJ mol-1) were revealed by rheological studies. As well as the common enhancing mechanism of limiting crack propagation in the polymer matrix, the nanofibers further initiated the shear bands in the epoxy resin to give a higher tensile strength (90.36 MPa) than that of pure epoxy (70.03 MPa) and even that of the epoxy nanocomposites with nanospheres (84.53 MPa). With a larger specific surface area, the nanofibers rather than nanospheres were observed to reduce the flammability of epoxy more efficiently by assisting more char formation of the epoxy resin. The hydroxyl groups formed between the protons of the doped acid in the PPy nanofillers and the epoxy broke the conjugate structure of PPy, leading to a higher bandgap in the nanocomposites (Eg1 = 3.08 eV for 1.0 wt% PPy nanofibers) than that of pure nanofillers (1.8 eV for PPy nanofibers and 1.2 eV for PPy nanospheres). Due to the high aspect ratio, the PPy nanofibers could form the conductive path more easily than the PPy nanospheres to provide a lower percolation threshold value. The real permittivity was observed to increase with increasing the PPy nanofiller loading, and the enhanced permittivity was interpreted by the interfacial polarization. © 2015 The Royal Society of Chemistry. Source

He Q.,Integrated Composites Laboratory ICL | He Q.,Lamar University | He Q.,Engineered Multifunctional Composites LLC | Yuan T.,Integrated Composites Laboratory ICL | And 14 more authors.
Journal of Physical Chemistry C | Year: 2014

Highly efficient electromagnetic field absorption at gigahertz (GHz) was reported in the novel magnetic polymer nanocomposites (MPNCs) with in-situ synthesized Fe@Fe2O3 core@shell nanoparticles (NPs) or their decorated multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) dispersed in the polypropylene (PP) matrix through a one-pot bottom-up method. PP grafted maleic anhydride (PP-g-MA) with different molecular weights served as surfactant to stabilize the in-situ-formed NPs and simultaneously as compatibilizer to enhance the bonding at the PP-filler interfaces. Because of the strong magnetization of the PP MPNCs filled with 20.0 wt % Fe@Fe2O3 NPs stabilized by PP-g-MA (Mn = 800), a minimum reflection loss (RL) of -31.5 dB was observed at 18.0 GHz, and the frequency bandwidth with RL lower than -10.0 dB was 3.1 GHz (from 16.9 to 20.0 GHz) in the MPNC sample with a thickness of 5.5 mm. However, due to the lack of magnetic loss, only a weak RL of 4.3 dB was found at frequency of 16.8 GHz for the PP/PP-g-MA (Mn = 800)/1.0 wt % MWNTs nanocomposites sample with a thickness of 5.5 mm. When the PP MPNCs filled with Fe@Fe2O3 NPs decorated MWNTs (sample thickness of 5.0 mm) in the presence of low molecular weight PP-g-MA (Mn = 800), the RL of -24.5 dB at 20.0 GHz was observed. Through simply changing Mn of PP-g-MA from 800 to 8000, more oxidized iron resulted in a decreased permeability and smaller RL in the high frequency range. The in-situ-formed nanofillers significantly reduced the flammability of PP for potential wide applications. © 2014 American Chemical Society. Source

Zhang X.,University of Tennessee at Knoxville | Zhang X.,Lamar University | Yan X.,University of Tennessee at Knoxville | He Q.,University of Tennessee at Knoxville | And 13 more authors.
ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces | Year: 2015

Polypropylene (PP)/carbon nanotubes (CNTs) nanocomposites were prepared by coating CNTs on the surface of gelated/swollen soft PP pellets. The electrical conductivity (σ) studies revealed a percolation threshold of only 0.3 wt %, and the electrical conductivity mechanism followed a 3-d variable range hopping (VRH) behavior. At lower processing temperature, the CNTs formed the network structure more easily, resulting in a higher σ. The fraction of γ-phase PP increased with increasing the pressing temperature. The CNTs at lower loading (0.1 wt %) served as nucleating sites and promoted the crystallization of PP. The CNTs favored the disentanglement of polymer chains and thus caused an even lower melt viscosity of nanocomposites than that of pure PP. The calculated optical band gap of CNTs was observed to increase with increasing the processing temperature, i.e., 1.55 eV for nanocomposites prepared at 120 °C and 1.70 eV prepared at 160 and 180 °C. Both the Drude model and interband transition phenomenon have been used for theoretical analysis of the real permittivity of the nanocomposites. © 2015 American Chemical Society. Source

Wang Y.,Lamar University | He Q.,Lamar University | He Q.,Engineered Multifunctional Composites LLC | Qu H.,Lamar University | And 16 more authors.
Journal of Materials Chemistry C | Year: 2014

The growth mechanism of magnetic nanoparticles (NPs) in the presence of graphite oxide (GO) has been investigated by varying the iron precursor dosage and reaction time (product donated as MP/GO). The synthesized magnetic NPs were anchored on the GO sheets due to the abundant oxygen-containing functionalities on the GO sheets such as carboxyl, hydroxyl and epoxy functional groups. The introduced NPs changed the intrinsic functionalities and lattice structure of the basal GO as indicated by FT-IR, Raman and XRD analysis, and this effect was enhanced by increasing the amount of iron precursor. Uniform distribution of NPs within the basal GO sheets and an increased particle size from 19.5 to 25.4, 31.5 and 85.4 nm were observed using scanning electron microscope (SEM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM) when increasing the weight ratio of GO to iron precursor from 10:1, to 5:1, 1:1 and 1:5, respectively. An aggregation of NPs was observed when increasing the iron precursor dosage or prolonging the reaction time from 1 to 8 h. Most functionalities were removed and the magnetic NPs were partially converted to iron upon thermal treatment under a reducing condition. The GO and MP/GO nanocomposites reacted for one and two hours (denoted as MP/GO1-1 h and MP/GO1-2 h) were converted from insulator to semiconductor after the annealing treatment as annealed GO (A-GO, 8.86 S cm-1), annealed MP/GO1-1 h (A-MP/GO1-1 h, 7.48 × 10-2 S cm-1) and annealed MP/GO1-2 h (A-MP/GO1-2 h, 7.58 × 10-2 S cm-1). The saturation magnetization was also enhanced significantly after the annealing treatment, increased from almost 0 to 26.7 and 83.6 emu g-1 for A-MP/GO1-1 h and A-MP/GO1-2 h, respectively. This journal is © the Partner Organisations 2014. Source

Qiu B.,Lamar University | Qiu B.,Beijing Forestry University | Guo J.,Lamar University | Zhang X.,Lamar University | And 11 more authors.
ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces | Year: 2014

Ethyl cellulose (EC) composites modified with 20.0 wt % polyethylenimine (PEI) (PEI/ECs) demonstrated effective hexavalent chromium, [Cr(VI)], removal from solutions with a wide pH range. For example, 4.0 mg/L Cr(VI) solution with a pH below 3.0 was completely purified by 3.0 g/L PEI/ECs within 5 min, much faster than the as-received EC (2 h) and activated carbon (several hours). These PEI/ECs adsorbents has overcome the low pH limitation of Cr(VI) removal; for example, 4.0 mg/L Cr(VI) solution with a pH of 11.0 was completely purified within 15 min. These adsorbents followed chemical adsorption as revealed from the pseudo-second-order kinetic study. These PEI/ECs following the isotherm Langmuir model have a maximum adsorption capacity of 36.8 mg/g, much higher than pure EC (12 mg/g), tetrabutylammonium-modified celluloses (16.67 mg/g), and magnetic carbon (16 mg/g). The reduction of Cr(VI) to Cr(III) by the oxidation of amine groups and hydroxyl groups of PEI/ECs was verified as the main mechanism for the Cr(VI) removal. (Chemical Equation Presented). © 2014 American Chemical Society. Source

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