BOOK_CONTENT
From Polymer Nanocomposites: Processing, Characterization, and Applications

5.1 Characterization Methods

There are three key steps in the development of nanomodified materials and these are: ( a) materials preparation, ( b) property characterization, and ( c) material performance or device fabrication. The materials preparation involves the processing of nanoparticles with polymer matrix into a polymer nanocomposite. This was discussed in Chap. 4. The next challenge is to determine the degree and level of dispersion of the nanoparticles in the polymer matrix. Characterization involves two main processes: structure analysis and property measurements. Structure analysis is carried out using a variety of microscopic and spectroscopic techniques, while property characterization is rather diverse and depends on the individual application.

Due to the high selectivity of the size and structure of the polymer nanostructured materials (PNMs), the physical properties of these PNMs can be quite diverse. It is known that the physical properties of nanostructures depend strongly on their size and shape. The properties measured from a large quantity of nanomaterials could be an average of the overall properties, so that the unique characteristics of an individual nanostructure could be embedded. An essential task as one develops capability in the preparation of nanomaterials is property characterization of an individual nanostructure with a well-defined atomic structure.

Characterizing the properties of individual nanoparticles presents a challenge to many existing testing and measuring techniques because of the following constraints. First, the size (diameter and length) is rather small, prohibiting the application of well-established techniques. Second, the small size of nanostructures makes their...

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