Quercetin (Q), a natural antioxidant molecule, is physically immobilized onto multi-walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) bearing covalently-linked long-chain alkyl functional groups, and the so obtained hybrid-nanoparticles are used to prepare Ultra High Molecular Weight PolyEthylene-based nanocomposite films with enhanced thermo-oxidation resistance. The effective immobilization of the Q molecules is confirmed by spectroscopic (micro-Raman, ATR-FTIR, and FTIR) and thermo-gravimetric analyses, and the influence of the nanoparticles on the rheological behaviour and thermo-oxidative stability of the nanocomposites are investigated. Rheological analyses (linear viscoelasticity and stress relaxation tests) and morphological observations reveal that the Q-functionalized CNTs disperse better than bare CNTs in the host matrix. Quercetin confirms to be an excellent anti-oxidant for polyethylene, but the study of the thermo-oxidation behaviour shows that a remarkable stabilizing action only emerges when Q is physically immobilized on the CNTs. In particular, a ten-fold increase of the onset of degradation phenomena in thermo-oxidative environment was found. Such an excellent result is due to a synergic effect stemming from the physical interaction between Q and CNTs, which cannot provide a similar stabilizing action if used separately. In particular, we argue that the process of physical immobilization of the Q molecules causes the formation of structural defects onto outer CNTs surfaces, thus remarkably improving the CNTs radical scavenging activity and probably promoting Q regeneration. In addition, CNTs seem acting as efficient nano-carriers for the quercetin molecules, improving the dispersion of the latter in the host matrix in spite of their poor solubility.
|Numero di pagine||9|
|Rivista||Polymer Degradation and Stability|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2015|
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