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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2006 (2006), Article ID 58648, 9 pages

Microstructure and Thermomechanical Properties of Polyimide-Silica Nanocomposites

Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Kuwait University, P.O. Box 5969, Safat 13060, Kuwait

Received 13 February 2006; Revised 15 June 2006; Accepted 13 November 2006

Copyright © 2006 A. Al Arbash 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.


Novel polyimide-silica nanocomposites with interphase chemical bonding have been prepared using the sol-gel process. The morphology, thermal and mechanical properties were studied as a function of silica content and compared with the similar composites having no interphase interaction. The polyimide precursors, polyamic acids (PAAs) with or without pendant hydroxyl groups were prepared from the reaction of pyromellitic dianhydride with a mixture of oxydianiline and 1,3 phenylenediamine or 2,4-diminophenol in dimethylacetamide. The PAA with pendant hydroxyl groups was reacted with isocyanatopropyltriethoxysilane to produce alkoxy groups on the chain. The reinforcement of PAA matrices with or without alkoxy groups on the chain was carried out by mixing appropriate amount of tetraethoxysilane (TEOS) and carrying out its hydrolysis and condensation in a sol-gel process. Thin hybrid films were imidized by successive heating up to 300C. The presence of alkoxy groups on the polymer chain and their cocondensation with TEOS developed the silica network which was interconnected chemically with the polyimide matrix. SEM studies show a drastic decrease in the silica particle size in the chemically bonded system. Higher thermal stability and mechanical strength, improved transparency, and low values of thermal coefficient of expansion were observed in case of chemically bonded composites.