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  1. Abstract

    The addition of nanoparticles to a polymer matrix can in certain cases induce a reduction in viscosity, with respect to the pure matrix, in the resulting composites. This counterintuitive phenomenon cannot be explained using the most common rheological models. For this reason, it has been chosen as a good example in this paper to demonstrate the value and methods of dynamic X‐ray and neutron scattering techniques for the investigation of polymer nanocomposites. An overview of the main results on this topic is presented together with an introduction to the basic concepts relating to X‐ray photon correlation spectroscopy, neutron backscattering, and neutron spin echo measurements.

  2. Abstract

    Magnesium oxychloride (MOC) excels in performance applications due to inherent structural strength, fire retardant properties, and numerous other attributes. To avoid the slow degradation of MOC when exposed to water, phosphoric acid is usually added, effectively increasing retention of structural properties (water stability). While this is an effective method, it is poorly understood. Additions of 2.5 wt.% and above had positive impacts on the water stability, preserving ~50 wt.% crystalline MOC after water stability tests. Phosphoric acid addition also impacted the reaction kinetics, increasing the activation energy of curing from 72.2 to 87.6‐95.2 kJ/mol. Using synchrotron X‐ray scattering and pair distribution function analysis, we identified an unreported amorphous phase formed when phosphoric acid is added; this phase contains structural motifs related to MgHPO4·3H2O (newberyte), Mg2P2O7·3.5H2O (magnesium pyrophosphate), and amorphous MOC phase. The short‐range order of the samples show a prominent peak at ~3.2 Å that grows with increasing acid addition, believed to be a combination of newberyte (~3.4 Å Mg–P), pyrophosphate (~3.25 Å Mg–P), and MOC (~3.15 Å Mg–Mg). We propose that the increased water stability observed is due to this combined amorphous phase, which retains the low water solubility properties of MgHPO4·3H2O and Mg2P2O7·3.5H2O, effectively protecting the MOC crystalline phase.