Interfacial Contributions in Nanodiamond-Reinforced Polymeric Fibers

Prajesh Adhikari, Pallav K. Jani, Lilian C. Hsiao, Orlando J. Rojas, Saad A. Khan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


We study the interfacial energy parameters that explain the reinforcement of polymers with nanodiamond (ND) and the development of mechanical strength of electrospun ND-reinforced composites. Thermodynamic parameters such as the wettability ratio, work of spreading and dispersion/aggregation transition are used to derive a criterion to predict the dispersibility of carboxylated ND (cND) in polymeric matrices. Such a criterion for dispersion (Dc) is applied to electrospun cND-containing poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA), polyacrylonitrile (PAN), and polystyrene (PS) fiber composites. The shifts in glass transition temperature (ΔTg), used as a measure of polymer/cND interfacial interactions and hence the reinforcement capability of cNDs, reveal a direct correlation with the thermodynamic parameter Dc in the order of PAN < PS < PVA. Contrary to expectation, however, the tensile strength of the electrospun fibers correlates with the Dc and ΔTg only for semicrystalline polymers (PAN < PVA) while the amorphous PS displays a maximum reinforcement with cND. Such conflicting results reveal a synergy that is not captured by thermodynamic considerations alone but also factor in the contributions of polymer/cND interface stress transfer efficiency. Our findings open the possibility for tailoring the interfacial interactions in polymer-ND fiber composites to achieve maximum mechanical reinforcement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10312–10323
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number36
Early online date6 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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