Preparing a pseudo-solid by the reinforcement of a polydentate thioether using silver nanoparticles.

PMID 25536368


The design of networks from polymers and noble metal nanoparticles requires thorough control over topological polymer-particle arrangements. This study explores the interaction between a linear polydentate poly(propylene sulfide) (PPrS) ligand and silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) with an aim to study its effect on mechanical and viscoelastic properties. Very low amounts (0.30 vol%) of silver nanoparticles lead to significant mechanical reinforcement of PPrS, yielding viscoelastic properties of an unfastened network with solid-like elastic responses on mechanical stimulation. The materials are made by ring-opening anionic polymerization of propylene sulfide to yield high molar mass PPrS with a total of 593 thioether functionalities per chain, followed by a simple in situ "grafting to" method to homogeneously incorporate AgNPs into the polymer matrix. From investigations on the chain dynamics using dynamic rheology it is concluded that well-dispersed AgNPs impose additional topological constraints on the polymer chains. Calculations of the statistical interparticle distances support a tele-bridging polymer-particle arrangement.