Sequential infiltration synthesis (SIS) is an emerging technique for fabricating hybrid organic-inorganic materials with nanoscale precision and controlled properties. Central to SIS implementation in applications such as membranes, sensors, and functional coatings is the mechanical properties of hybrid materials in water-rich environments. This work studies the nanocomposite morphology and its effect on the mechanical behavior of SIS-based hybrid thin films of AlOx-PMMA under aqueous environments. Water-supported tensile measurements reveal an unfamiliar behavior dependent on the AlOx content, where the modulus decreases after a single SIS cycle and increases with additional cycles. In contrast, the yield stress constantly decreases as the AlOx content increases. A comparison between water uptake measurements indicates that AlOx induces water uptake from the aqueous environment, implying a “nanoeffect” stemming from AlOx-water interactions. We discuss the two mechanisms that govern the modulus of the hybrid films: softening due to increased water absorption and stiffening as the AlOx volume fraction increases. The decrease in the yield stress with SIS cycles is associated with the limited mobility and extensibility of polymer chains caused by the growth of AlOx clusters. Our study highlights the significance of developing hybrid materials to withstand aqueous or humid conditions which are crucial to their performance and durability.
- mechanical properties
- organic−inorganic hybrid thin films
- sequential infiltration synthesis
- vapor phase infiltration
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)