Hansen solubility parameter analysis on the dispersion of zirconia nanocrystals

Sho Hsun Wang, Jia Hong Liu, Chin Tung Pai, Chien Wei Chen, Pao Tang Chung, Anthony Shiaw Tseh Chiang, Shinn Jen Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Nanoparticle dispersible in a broad range of solvents is desirable when preparing an organic/inorganic nanocomposite. In this report, the dispersion behavior of carboxylate-grafted zirconia nanoparticle in 25 solvents covering a wide range of polarity was analyzed based on their Hansen solubility parameters (HSP). Particles grafted with alkyl-chain longer than four carbons could only be dispersed in non-polar solvents, while that grafted with acetic acid was dispersible in polar ones. However, particle modified with methacrylic acid (MA) was compatible with both types of solvents, which was rather unexpected. Further NMR analysis showed that the carboxylate-grafted samples contained a trace amount of triethanolamine (TEA) due to the particular ZrO2 synthesis process employed. The combination of the hydrophilic TEA ligand with the short hydrophobic tail of methacrylate broadened the range of compatible solvents from benzene to methanol. Such an extended solvent compatibility was observed previously only for nanoparticles covered with large polymer surfactants having both hydrophilic and hydrophobic groups. Achieving this with two small molecules having separate functional groups is crucial when one needs to maximize the inorganic content in a composite.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-147
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2013


  • Carboxylic acid
  • Dual-ligand
  • Nanocomposite
  • NMR
  • Refractive index
  • Solvent compatibility
  • Surface modification
  • Transparent sol
  • Triethanolamine


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