5 years ago

Coffee Grounds to Multifunctional Quantum Dots: Extreme Nanoenhancers of Polymer Biocomposites

Coffee Grounds to Multifunctional Quantum Dots: Extreme Nanoenhancers of Polymer Biocomposites
Lan Xie, Minna Hakkarainen, Jinlai Li, Huan Xu
Central to the design and execution of nanocomposite strategies is the invention of polymer-affinitive and multifunctional nanoreinforcements amenable to economically viable processing. Here, a microwave-assisted approach enabled gram-scale fabrication of polymer-affinitive luminescent quantum dots (QDs) from spent coffee grounds. The ultrasmall dimensions (approaching 20 nm), coupled with richness of diverse oxygen functional groups, conferred the zero-dimensional QDs with proper exfoliation and uniform dispersion in poly(l-lactic acid) (PLLA) matrix. The unique optical properties of QDs were inherited by PLLA nanocomposites, giving intensive luminescence and high visible transparency, as well as nearly 100% UV-blocking ratio in the full-UV region at only 0.5 wt % QDs. The strong anchoring of PLLA chains at the nanoscale surfaces of QDs facilitated PLLA crystallization, which was accompanied by substantial improvements in thermomechanical and tensile properties. With 1 wt % QDs, for example, the storage modulus at 100 °C and tensile strength increased over 2500 and 69% compared to those of pure PLLA (4 and 57.3 MPa), respectively. The QD-enabled energy-dissipating and flexibility-imparting mechanisms upon tensile deformation, including the generation of numerous shear bands, crazing, and nanofibrillation, gave an unusual combination of elasticity and extensibility for PLLA nanocomposites. This paves the way to biowaste-derived nanodots with high affinity to polymer for elegant implementation of distinct light management and extreme nanoreinforcements in an ecofriendly manner.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.7b09401

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b09401

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