Elaboration, structural and optical investigations of ZnO/epoxy nanocomposites
Research Unit “Physics of insulators and semi-insulator materials”, Faculty of sciences of Sfax, University of Sfax, Route Soukra, km 3.5, BP 1171, 3000, Sfax, Tunisia
* e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Revised: 19 May 2015
Accepted: 4 June 2015
Published online: 30 July 2015
Hybrid nanocomposites were elaborated by incorporating ZnO nanoparticles into a transparent epoxy polymer matrix, using the direct dispersion method. The effect of the nanoparticles on the structural and optical properties of the polymer matrix was investigated using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), Raman and UV-Visible spectroscopies. Nanocomposites FTIR spectra showed a variation of band intensities attributed to nanoparticles agglomeration within the polymer. The UV-Visible measurements showed a redshift on the band gap energy of the nanocomposites differently from neat epoxy resin, caused by interactions between ZnO NPs and polymer chains. Raman spectra confirm these interactions and the formation of hydrogen bonds in the nanocomposites. The UV-Visible transmittance spectra revealed that addition of a very low concentration (0.2wt%) of ZnO nanoparticles to a transparent epoxy matrix would maintain high visible-light transparency. The decrease of transmittance with increasing ZnO percentage is due to light scattering which originates from the agglomeration of nanoparticles in the matrix, the mismatch between the refractive index of ZnO and that of the epoxy matrix, and the increase of the surface roughness of the nanocomposite with increasing ZnO addition. Moreover, the UV-vis absorption spectra revealed that adding more than 1wt% ZnO leads to the improvement of the UV shielding properties of the nanocomposites. These results prove that the elaborated ZnO/epoxy nanocomposites can be used as UV shielding materials.
© Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2015