Physical Adsorption of Graphene Oxide onto Polymer Latexes and Characterization of the Resulting Nanocomposite Particles

Shang-pin Wen, Elisabeth Trinh, Qi Yue, Lee A. Fielding

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Polymer/graphene oxide (GO) nanocomposite particles were prepared via heteroflocculation between 140–220 nm cationic latex nanoparticles and anionic GO nanosheets in either acidic or basic conditions. It is demonstrated that nanocomposite particles can be formed using either poly(2-vinylpyridine)-b-poly(benzyl methacrylate) (P2VP–PBzMA) block copolymer nanoparticles prepared by reversible-addition chain-transfer (RAFT)-mediated polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA), or poly(ethylene glycol)methacrylate (PEGMA)-stabilized P2VP latexes prepared by traditional emulsion polymerization. These two latexes are different morphologically as the P2VP–PBzMA block copolymer latexes have P2VP steric stabilizer chains in their corona, whereas the PEGMA-stabilized P2VP particles have a P2VP core and a nonionic steric stabilizer. Nevertheless, both the P2VP–PBzMA and PEGMA-stabilized P2VP latexes are cationic at low pH. Thus, the addition of GO to these latexes causes flocculation to occur immediately due to the opposite charges between the anionic GO nanosheets and cationic latexes. Control heteroflocculation experiments were conducted using anionic sterically stabilized poly(potassium 3-sulfopropyl methacrylate)-b-poly(benzyl methacrylate) (PKSPMA–PBzMA) and nonionic poly(benzyl methacrylate) (PBzMA) nanoparticles to demonstrate that polymer/GO nanocomposite particles were not formed. The degree of flocculation and the strength of electrostatic interaction between the cationic polymer latexes and GO were assessed using disc centrifuge photosedimentometry (DCP), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and UV–visible spectrophotometry. These studies suggest that the optimal conditions for the formation of polymer/GO nanocomposite particles were GO contents between 10% and 20% w/w relative to latex, with the latexes containing P2VP in their corona having a stronger electrostatic attraction to the GO sheets.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date30 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2022


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