Polypropylene (PP)/clay nanocomposites based on PP, organic clay (montmorillonite; MMT), and maleated polypropylene (MAPP) were prepared by melt compounding. The mechanical, thermal, morphological, and gas barrier properties of the resulting PP/clay nanocomposites were investigated at varying concentrations of the components for food packaging. The results revealed that the mechanical strengths, including tensile, flexural, and Izod impact strength, were increased for PP/clay nanocomposites compared to neat PP. The thermal properties showed a tendency for the melting and degradation temperatures to increase with the clay concentration. The effect of the compatibilizer was observed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The X-ray diffraction pattern of the nanocomposites revealed increased d-spacing of the MMT layers, indicating that the compatibility of neat PP and clay was improved by the addition of MAPP, and the intercalation and partial exfoliation of the layers. The use of clay increased the mobility distance of the gas molecules, leading to the oxygen permeability of neat PP being reduced by 26% to 55%.
- Food packaging