The glass-transition and gas-transport properties of rubbery polymer nanocomposites based on cross- linked poly(ethylene oxide) and metal oxide nanoparticles were studied. Nanocomposite samples were prepared by the UV photopolymerization of poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (n ∼ 14) in the presence of magnesium oxide or silica nanoparticles. The thermomechanical properties of the composites were investigated with dynamic mechanical and dielectric spectroscopy methods. The inclusion of nanoparticles in the crosslinked poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate network led to a systematic increase in rubbery modulus and a modest positive offset (∼6°C) in the measured glass-transition temperature for both systems. Bulk density measurements indicated only minimal void volume fraction in the composites, and CO2 and light gas permeability decreased with particle loading; for example, the CO2 infinite dilution permeability at 35°C decreased from 106 barrer in the unfilled polymer to 55 barrer in a nanocomposite containing 30 wt % magnesium oxide nanoparticles. The inclusion of toluene diluent in the prepolymerization mixtures produced a limited enhancement in sample permeability, but the sizeable increases in gas transport with particle loading reported for certain other rubbery nanocomposite systems were not realized in the crosslinked poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate composites.
- Glass transition