High-pressure synthesis of a polyethylene/zeolite nano-composite material

Year: 2013

Authors: Santoro M., Gorelli F. A., Bini R., Haines J., van der Lee A.

Autors Affiliation: Istituto di Fisica Applicata N. Carrara, IFAC-CNR, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Firenze, Italy;
European Laboratory for non Linear Spectroscopy, LENS, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Firenze, Italy;
Istituto per i Processi Chimico Fisici, IPCF-CNR, UOS Roma, 00185 Roma, Italy

Dipartimento di Chimica dell’Università di
Firenze, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Firenze, Italy.

Institut Charles Gerhardt Montpellier, UMR 5253 CNRS, Equipe C2M, Université Montpellier 2, 34095
Montpellier, France.

Institut Européen des Membranes, UMR-CNRS 5635, Université Montpellier 2, 34095 Montpellier, France.

Abstract: Meso/micro-porous solids, such as zeolites, are complex materials used in an impressive range of applications. Here we photo-polymerized ethylene using non-catalytic high-pressure techniques at 0.5-1.5 GPa under ultraviolet (351-364 nm) irradiation on a sub-nanometre scale in the channels of a pure SiO2 zeolite, silicalite, to obtain a unique nano-composite material with drastically modified mechanical properties. The structure obtained contains single polyethylene chains, which adapt very well to the confining channels as shown by optical spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction. The formation of this nano-composite results in significant increases in bulk modulus and density, and the thermal expansion coefficient changes sign from negative to positive with respect to silicalite. Mechanical properties may thus be tuned by varying the amount of polymerized ethylene. Our findings could allow the high-pressure, catalyst-free synthesis of a unique generation of technological, functional materials based on simple hydrocarbons polymerized in confining meso/micro-porous solids.

Journal/Review: NATURE COMMUNICATIONS

Volume: 4      Pages from: 1557  to: 1557

More Information: We acknowledge the support from the European Union (LENS Contract FP7 G.A. No. 228334 LASERLABEUROPE), the Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, the Deep Carbon Observatory initiative (Grant N. 2011-10-01 from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for the project entitled \’Physics and Chemistry of Deep Carbon Bearing Fluids and Mineral\’), and the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (Contract ANR-09-BLAN-0018-01).
KeyWords: high pressure physics; materials science; nano-composite materials; x-ray diffraction; optical spectroscopy
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2564

Citations: 50
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