Quantifying Mechanical-induced Released Metal-Oxide Nanoparticles on the Surface of Polymer Nanocomposites

L-P. Sung, H-C. Hsueh, S. Watson, Y-F. Chuang, T. Nguyen
National Institute of Standards and Technology, US

Keywords: metal oxide nanoparticle


Metal oxide nanoparticles (alumina, silica, titanium dioxide, etc.) have been incorporated into polymer matrices to enhance/improve the performance and durability of polymer nanocomposites. The release of nanoparticles during the life cycle of nanocomposites under various environmental (UV, temperature, relative humidity) and mechanical stresses (scratch, abrasion, and impact) may potentially pose environmental, health and safety (EHS) risks. Prior to perform the risk assessment and provide regulatory guidelines to ensure the safe use and disposal of polymer nanocomposites, tools and measurement protocols are needed to characterize and quantify the released particles in the air and/or on the surface of the products. Most useful measurement tools for characterizing nanoparticles are real-space observations which allow a direct morphological observation, e.g., optical, atomic force, transmission and scanning electron microscopy (TEM and SEM). The most widely used of these methods is TEM which requires time-consuming sample preparation and the acquisition of tens of micrographs with statistical analysis of data to provide a representative view of nanocomposite structure. Recent advances on FE (field emission)-SEM provide a less invasive method, but data acquisition process is still time-consuming and skilled operator in instrumentation is essential. SEE ATTACHED