Polymer-silica nanocomposites based on poly(2-hydroxyethyl acrylate) (PHEA) have been prepared by the simultaneous polymerization of the organic and the silica phases in a sol-gel process with the silica precursor tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS). The structure of this system is investigated using atomic force microscopy (AFM) in the tapping mode and in nanoindentation experiments. The structure of the PHEA/silica hybrids strongly depends on the ratio of both components in the system. For silica weight fractions lower than 0.15, the system consists of aggregated silica particles dispersed in the organic matrix; above that concentration of silica the structure is co-continuous with that of the organic matrix, similarly to two interpenetrated networks.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Organic Chemistry
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry