Hydrophobic, Mechanical, and Physical Properties of Polyurethane Nanocomposite: Synergistic Impact of Mg(OH)2 and SiO2

Polymers (Basel). 2023 Apr 17;15(8):1916. doi: 10.3390/polym15081916.


Polyurethane (PU) is one of the most well-known polymer coatings because of its favorable characteristics, which include its low density, nontoxicity, nonflammability, longevity, adhesion, simple manufacture, flexibility, and hardness. However, PU does come with several major drawbacks, among which are poor mechanical properties as well as low thermal and chemical stability, particularly in the high-temperature mode, where becomes gets flammable and loses adhesion ability. The limitations have inspired researchers to develop a PU composite to improve the weaknesses by adding different reinforcements. Magnesium hydroxide, having the ability to be produced with exceptional properties such as flammability, has consistently attracted the interest of researchers. Additionally, silica nanoparticles with high strength and hardness are one of the excellent reinforcements of polymers these days. The hydrophobic, physical, and mechanical properties of pure polyurethane and the composite type (nano, micro, and hybrid) fabricated with the drop casting method were examined in this study. 3-Aminopropyl triethoxysilane was applied as a functionalized agent. To confirm that hydrophilic particles turned into hydrophobic, FTIR analysis was carried out. The impact of size, percentage, and kind of fillers on different properties of PU/Mg(OH)2-SiO2 was then investigated using different analyses including spectroscopy and mechanical and hydrophobicity tests. The resultant observations demonstrated that different surface topographies can be obtained from the presence of particles of different sizes and percentages on the hybrid composite's surface. Surface roughness allowed for exceptionally high water contact angles, which confirmed the hybrid polymer coatings' superhydrophobic properties. According to the particle size and content, the distribution of fillers in the matrix also improved the mechanical properties.

Keywords: hardness; hydrophobicity; magnesium hydroxide; polyurethane hybrid composite; silica; surface roughness.

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the Iran University of Science and Technology (School of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering) and the Niroo Research Institute (Non-metallic Materials Research Department).