Surface-modified nanoparticles of boehmite, and methods for preparing the same. Aluminum oxyhydroxide nanoparticles are surface modified by reaction with selected amounts of organic acids. In particular, the nanoparticle surface is modified by reactions with two or more different carboxylic acids, at least one of which is an organic carboxylic acid. The product is a surface modified boehmite nanoparticle that has an inorganic aluminum oxyhydroxide core, or part aluminum oxyhydroxide core and a surface-bonded organic shell. Organic carboxylic acids of this invention contain at least one carboxylic acid group and one carbon-hydrogen bond. One embodiment of this invention provides boehmite nanoparticles that have been surface modified with two or more acids one of which additional carries at least one reactive functional group. Another embodiment of this invention provides boehmite nanoparticles that have been surface modified with multiple acids one of which has molecular weight or average molecular weight greater than or equal to 500 Daltons. Yet, another embodiment of this invention provides boehmite nanoparticles that are surface modified with two or more acids one of which is hydrophobic in nature and has solubility in water of less than 15 by weight. The products of the methods of this invention have specific useful properties when used in mixture with liquids, as filler in solids, or as stand-alone entities.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY FUNDED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made, at least in part, with funding from the Department of Defense, Contract No. N68335-02-C-0024, the Department of Energy, Contracts No. DE-FG03-00ER82928 and No. DE-FG03-01ER83309, National Science Foundation Contracts No. DMI-0214732 and No. DMI-0214769, NASA Contract No. NAS 9-03017, Environmental Protection Agency Contract No. 68-D-02-060, National Institute of Health Contract No. 1R43DE13767-01. Accordingly, the U.S. government may have certain rights in this invention.