Polyethylene nanofibers were synthesized by heterogeneous Ziegler-Natta polymerization inside nanochannels of robust anodized aluminum oxide (AAO) membranes. The polymerization catalysts were chemisorbed at the inner wall of the nanochannels and monomers were provided through diffusion from the outside. Polyethylene is produced inside the nanochannels in the 10-20 μm region from the channel entrance. Polyethylene fibers were extruded from the nanochannels up to 3-5 μm during the polymerization. X-ray diffraction, differential scanning calorimetry, and Fourier transform infrared analyses indicated formation of a highly stressed crystalline structure although the polymerization was carried out without any external pressure or mechanical work. The highly stressed phase formation inside nanochannels and some degree of polyethylene nanofiber extrusion from nanochannels were attributed to catalytic production of excess amounts of polyethylene inside nanoconfined templates.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry