Nanocomposites of hydrophobic organo-clay/polypropylene (organo-clay/PP) were efficiently developed through a solution-blending technique. For this, we utilized various smectite clays as host agents; namely, Na-montmorillonite (Mt, ~1000 nm), Na-fluorine mica (Mica, ~1500 nm), and Na-hectorite (Ht, ~60 nm) with varied sizes, layer charges, and aspect ratios. Such clays were functionalized with cetyltrimethylammonium (CTA) bromide via an intercalation technique to obtain hydrophobic organic clays. The as-made clay particles were further mixed with a PP/xylene solution; the latter was removed to obtain the final product of the CTA-clay/PP nanocomposite. An X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis confirmed that there were no characteristic (001) diffraction peaks for CTA-Mica in the PP nanocomposites containing CTA-Mica, assuring the fact that the Mica layers could be completely exfoliated and thereby homogenously composited within the PP. On the other hand, the CTA-Mt and CTA-Ht incorporated composites had broader (001) peaks, which might have been due to the partial exfoliation of CTA-Mt and CTA-Ht in the composites. Among the three CTA-clay/PP nanocomposites, the CTA-Mica nanohybrid showed an enhanced thermal stability by ~42 °C compared to the intact host polymer matrix. We also noted that when the CTA-Mica content was ~9 mass % in the nanocomposites, the Young’s modulus was drastically maximized to 69%. Our preliminary results therefore validated that out of the three tested clay-PP nanocomposites, the CTA-Mica nanofiller served as the best one to improve both the thermal and mechanical properties of the PP nanocomposites.
- mechanical strength
- thermal stability