Direct small-angle-neutron-scattering observation of stretched chain conformation in nanocomposites
Nicolas Jouault, Florent Dalmas, Sylvère Said, Emanuela Di Cola, Ralf Schweins, Jacques Jestin, and François Boué, Phys. Rev. E 82, 031801
In this paper we present a direct measurement of stretched chain conformation in polymer nanocomposites in a large range of deformation using a specific contrast-matched small angle neutron scatttering (SANS) method. Whatever are the filler structure and the chain length the results show a clear identity of chain deformation in pure and reinforced polymer and offer more insight on the polymer chain contribution in the mechanical reinforcement. It suggests that glassy layer or glassy paths, recently proposed, should involve only a small fraction of chains. As a result, the remaining filler contribution appears strikingly constant with deformation as explained by continuous locking-unlocking rearrangement process of the particles.