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Journal of Nanotechnology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 728326, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/728326
Research Article

Ultrafine Magnetite Nanopowder: Synthesis, Characterization, and Preliminary Use as Filler of Polymethylmethacrylate Nanocomposites

1Institute of Chemistry and Technology of Polymers, National Research Council of Italy, Via Campi Flegrei, 34-80072 Pozzuoli, Italy
2Departments of Materials and Production Engineering, University of Naples Federico II, Piazzale Tecchio, 80-80125 Naples, Italy
3Institute for Composite and Biomedical Materials, National Research Council of Italy, Piazzale Tecchio, 80-80125 Naples, Italy
4Department of Materials and Environmental Engineering, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Strada Vignolese, 905-41125 Modena, Italy
5Department of Water Engineering and Chemistry, Polytechnic of Bari, Via Orabona, 4-70125 Bari, Italy

Received 5 April 2012; Revised 28 June 2012; Accepted 10 July 2012

Academic Editor: Menka Jain

Copyright © 2012 Pietro Russo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Magnetite (Fe3O4) nanoparticles prepared by microwave-assisted hydrothermal synthesis have been characterized in terms of morphological and structural features. Electron micrographs collected in both scanning (SEM) and transmission (TEM) modes and evaluations of X-ray powder diffraction (XRD) patterns have indicated the achievement of a monodispersed crystallite structure with particles having an average size around 15–20 nm. Structural investigations by Micro-Raman spectroscopy highlighted the obtainment of magnetite nanocrystals with a partial surface oxidation to maghemite (γ-Fe3O4). Preliminary attention has been also paid to the use of these magnetite nanoparticles as filler for a commercial polymethylmethacrylate resin. Hybrid formulations containing up to 3 wt% of nanoparticles were prepared by melt blending and characterized by calorimetric and thermogravimetric tests. For sake of comparison, same formulations containing commercial Fe3O4 nanoparticles are also reported. Calorimetric characterization indicates an increase of both glass transition temperature and thermal stability of the nanocomposite systems when loaded with the synthesized magnetite nanoparticles rather then loaded with the same amount of commercial Fe3O4. This first observation represents just one aspect of the promising potentiality offered by the novel magnetic nanoparticles when mixed with PMMA.