Interfacial and Transport Properties of Nanoconstrained Inorganic and Organic Materials
Kocherlakota, Lakshmi Suhasini
MetadataShow full item record
Nanoscale constraints impact the material properties of both organic and inorganic systems. The systems specifically studied here are (i) nanoconstrained polymeric systems, poly(l-trimethylsilyl-1-propyne) (PTMSP) and poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) relevant to gas separation membranes (ii) Zwitterionic polymers poly(sulfobetaine methacrylate)(pSBMA), poly(carboxybetaine acrylamide) (pCBAA), and poly(oligo(ethylene glycol) methyl methacrylate) (PEGMA) brushes critical for reducing bio-fouling (iii) Surface properties of N-layer graphene sheets. Interfacial constraints in ultrathin poly(l-trimethylsilyl-1-propyne) (PTMSP) membranes yielded gas permeabilities and CO2/helium selectivities that exceed bulk PTMSP membrane transport properties by up to three-fold for membranes of submicrometer thickness. Indicative of a free volume increase, a molecular energetic mobility analysis (involving intrinsic friction analysis) revealed enhanced methyl side group mobilities in thin PTMSP membranes with maximum permeation, compared to bulk films. Aging studies conducted over the timescales relevant to the conducted experiments signify that the free volume states in the thin film membranes are highly unstable in the presence of sorbing gases such as CO2. To maintain this high free volume configuration of polymer while improving the temporal stability an "inverse" architecture to conventional polymer nanocomposites was investigated, in which the polymer phase of PTMSP and PEO were interfacially and dimensionally constrained in nanoporous anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) membranes. While with this architecture the benefits of nanocomposite and ultrathin film membranes of PTMSP could be reproduced and improved upon, also the temporal stability could be enhanced substantially. The PEO-AAO nanocomposite membranes also revealed improved gas selectivity properties of CO2 over helium. In the thermal transition studies of zwitterionic pSBMA brushes a reversible critical transition temperature of 60 oC in 27 nm films was evidenced, indicating changes in molecular conformations with respect to the temperature. pCBAA and pEGMA brushes displayed no thermal transitions, suggesting that the molecular conformations of these systems were insensitive to temperature in the investigated regime. The surface energy of a dimensionally constrained inorganic system, graphene is studied via local Hamaker constant determination from a single graphene layer to bulk graphite. Intrinsic friction scattering analysis of dipolar fluctuations of the Van der Waals interactions between an atomic force microscopy tip and graphene layers revealed a four-fold reduction in the surface energy from bulk HOPG to graphene. A numerical analysis based on electron energy loss spectroscopy confirms quantitatively the results.
- Chemical engineering