Date: May 2003
Creator: Hernandez-Luna, Alejandro
Description: Nanocomposites with expandable smectites such as montmorillonite layered silicates (MLS) in polymer matrices have attracted extensive application interest. Numerous MLS concentrations have been used with no particular justification. Here, we investigate the effects of MLS dispersion within the matrix and on mechanical performance. The latter is resolved through a three-prong investigation on rate dependent tensile results, time dependent creep results and the influence of a sharp notch in polypropylene (PP) nanocomposites. A fixed concentration of maleated polypropylene (mPP) was utilized as a compatibilizer between the MLS and non-polar PP. Analysis of transmission electron micrographs and X-ray diffraction patterns on the surface and below the surface of our samples revealed a unique skin-core effect induced by the presence of clay. Differential scanning calorimetric and polarized optical microscopic examination of spherulites sizes showed changes in nucleation and growth resulting from both the maleated PP compatibilizer and the MLS. These structural changes resulted in a tough nanocomposite, a concept not reported before in the PP literature. Nonlinear creep analysis of the materials showed two concentrations 3 and 5 % wt of PP, which reduced the compliance in the base PP. The use of thermal wave imaging allowed the identification of ductile failure among ...
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