UV-curable nanocomposite based on methacrylic-siloxane resin and surface-modified TiO2 nanocrystals

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2015 Jul 22;7(28):15494-505. doi: 10.1021/acsami.5b03731. Epub 2015 Jul 7.


A novel UV-light-curable nanocomposite material formed of a methacrylic-siloxane resin loaded with 1 wt % oleic acid and 3-(trimethoxysilyl)propyl methacrylate silane (OLEA/MEMO)-coated TiO2 nanorods (NRs) has been manufactured as a potential self-curing structural coating material for protection of monuments and artworks, optical elements, and dental components. OLEA-coated TiO2 NRs, presynthesized by a colloidal chemistry route, have been surface-modified by a treatment with the methacrylic-based silane coupling agent MEMO. The resulting OLEA/MEMO-capped TiO2 NRs have been dispersed in MEMO; that is a monomer precursor of the organic formulation, used as a "common solvent" for transferring the NRs in prepolymer components of the formulation. Differential scanning calorimetry and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy have allowed investigation of the effects of the incorporation of the OLEA/MEMO-capped TiO2 NRs on reactivity and photopolymerization kinetics of the nanocomposite, demonstrating that the embedded NRs significantly increase curing reactivity of the neat organic formulation both in air and inert atmosphere. Such a result has been explained on the basis of the photoactivity of the nanocrystalline TiO2 which behaves as a free-radical donor photocatalyst in the curing reaction, finally turning out more effective than the commonly used commercial photoinitiator. Namely, the NRs have been found to accelerate the cure rate and increase cross-linking density, promoting multiple covalent bonds between the resin prepolymers and the NR ligand molecules, and, moreover, they limit inhibition effect of oxygen on photopolymerization. The NRs distribute uniformly in the photocurable matrix, as assessed by transmission electron microscopy analysis, and increase glass transition temperature and water contact angle of the nanocomposite with respect to the neat resin.

Keywords: UV-curable methacrylic−siloxane resin formulation; colloidal TiO2 nanorods; nanocomposite; photoactivity; photopolymerization kinetic; surface modification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't