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Patterning the Stiffness of Elastomeric Nanocomposites by Magnetophoretic Control of Cross-linking Impeder Distribution

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Department of Engineering Physics, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L7, Canada
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Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, Virginia Tech, 495 Old Turner Street, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
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Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA
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Department of Mechanical Engineering, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L7, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Walter Caseri
Materials 2015, 8(2), 474-485; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma8020474
Received: 27 October 2014 / Revised: 9 January 2015 / Accepted: 22 January 2015 / Published: 30 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Advanced Composites)
We report a novel method to pattern the stiffness of an elastomeric nanocomposite by selectively impeding the cross-linking reactions at desired locations while curing. This is accomplished by using a magnetic field to enforce a desired concentration distribution of colloidal magnetite nanoparticles (MNPs) in the liquid precursor of polydimethysiloxane (PDMS) elastomer. MNPs impede the cross-linking of PDMS; when they are dispersed in liquid PDMS, the cured elastomer exhibits lower stiffness in portions containing a higher nanoparticle concentration. Consequently, a desired stiffness pattern is produced by selecting the required magnetic field distribution a priori. Up to 200% variation in the reduced modulus is observed over a 2 mm length, and gradients of up to 12.6 MPa·mm−1 are obtained. This is a significant improvement over conventional nanocomposite systems where only small unidirectional variations can be achieved by varying nanoparticle concentration. The method has promising prospects in additive manufacturing; it can be integrated with existing systems thereby adding the capability to produce microscale heterogeneities in mechanical properties. View Full-Text
Keywords: functional grading; nano composites; nanoindentation; magnetic nanoparticles functional grading; nano composites; nanoindentation; magnetic nanoparticles
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Ghosh, S.; Tehrani, M.; Al-Haik, M.S.; Puri, I.K. Patterning the Stiffness of Elastomeric Nanocomposites by Magnetophoretic Control of Cross-linking Impeder Distribution. Materials 2015, 8, 474-485.

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