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Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 2;7(1):7098. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-07788-3.

Stretching Micro Metal Particles into Uniformly Dispersed and Sized Nanoparticles in Polymer.

Author information

1
Scifacturing Laboratory, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 90095, USA.
2
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 90095, USA.
3
Scifacturing Laboratory, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 90095, USA. xcli@seas.ucla.edu.
4
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 90095, USA. xcli@seas.ucla.edu.

Abstract

There is a longstanding challenge to disperse metal nanoparticles uniformly in bulk polymers for widespread applications. Conventional scale-down techniques often are only able to shrink larger elements (such as microparticles and microfibers) into micro/nano-elements (i.e. nanoparticles and nanofibers) without much altering their relative spatial and size distributions. Here we show an unusual phenomenon that tin (Sn) microparticles with both poor size distribution and spatial dispersion were stretched into uniformly dispersed and sized Sn nanoparticles in polyethersulfone (PES) through a stack and draw technique in thermal drawing. It is believed that the capillary instability plays a crucial role during thermal drawing. This novel, inexpensive, and scalable method overcomes the longstanding challenge to produce bulk polymer-metal nanocomposites (PMNCs) with a uniform dispersion of metallic nano-elements.

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