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Preparation of Polymer Nanocomposites with Enhanced Antimicrobial Properties

  • Beatriz L. España-Sánchez (a1), Carlos A. Ávila-Orta (a1), Maria G. Neira-Velázquez (a1), Silvia G. Solís-Rosales (a1) and Pablo González -Morones (a1)...


Plasma surface activation and antibacterial properties of nanocomposites of polypropylene/silver nanoparticles (PP/nAg) and nylon-6/silver nanoparticles (Ny6/nAg) were investigated. The nanocomposites were prepared by melt blending assisted by ultrasound, while surface activation was achieved by means of argon plasma. To evaluate the antimicrobial properties of the nanocomposites, pathogen microorganisms such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Aspergillus niger were tested. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) analyses showed a uniform dispersion of nanoparticles within the polymer matrix, though the presence of some agglomerates was also appreciated. On the other hand, surface topography by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) suggested that ions from the argon plasma generated ion collisions with the surface of the nanocomposites removing or etching polymer from surface and improving silver nanoparticles exposure, increasing their antimicrobial properties as corroborated by antimicrobial analyses. Nanocomposites exposed to argon plasma presented higher antimicrobial properties than the ones not exposed. These results indicated that plasma treatment increased the contact area of the nanoparticles with the microorganisms and enhanced the antimicrobial properties of nanocomposites. The results also showed that PP/nAg nanocomposites presented higher bacterial inhibition than Ny6/nAg nanocomposites, indicating that the chemical structure of the polymer also plays a big role in the final performance of the composite.


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