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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2012, Article ID 578026, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/578026
Research Article

Fabrication and Characterization of Magnetoresponsive Electrospun Nanocomposite Membranes Based on Methacrylic Random Copolymers and Magnetite Nanoparticles

1Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, University of Cyprus, 75 Kallipoleos Avenue, 1678 Nicosia, Cyprus
2Center for Fundamental and Advanced Technical Research, Romanian Academy, Timisoara Branch, Bd. Mihai Viteazul No. 24, 1900 Timisoara, Romania
3Faculty of Industrial Chemistry and Environmental Engineering, “Politehnica” University of Timisoara, P-ta Victoriei No. 2, 300006 Timisoara, Romania
4Research Center for Engineering of Systems with Complex Fluids, “Politehnica” University of Timisoara, P-ta Victoriei No. 2, 300006 Timisoara, Romania

Received 23 January 2012; Accepted 1 February 2012

Academic Editor: Sevan P. Davtyan

Copyright © 2012 Ioanna Savva 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

Magnetoresponsive polymer-based fibrous nanocomposites belonging to the broad category of stimuli-responsive materials, is a relatively new class of “soft” composite materials, consisting of magnetic nanoparticles embedded within a polymeric fibrous matrix. The presence of an externally applied magnetic field influences the properties of these materials rendering them useful in numerous technological and biomedical applications including sensing, magnetic separation, catalysis and magnetic drug delivery. This study deals with the fabrication and characterization of magnetoresponsive nanocomposite fibrous membranes consisting of methacrylic random copolymers based on methyl methacrylate (MMA) and 2-(acetoacetoxy)ethyl methacrylate (AEMA) (MMA-co-AEMA) and oleic acid-coated magnetite (OA·Fe3O4) nanoparticles. The AEMA moieties containing β-ketoester side-chain functionalities were introduced for the first time in this type of materials, because of their inherent ability to bind effectively onto inorganic surfaces providing an improved stabilization. For membrane fabrication the electrospinning technique was employed and a series of nanocomposite membranes was prepared in which the polymer content was kept constant and only the inorganic (OA·Fe3O4) content varied. Further to the characterization of these materials in regards to their morphology, composition and thermal properties, assessment of their magnetic characteristics disclosed tunable superparamagnetic behaviour at ambient temperature.