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Keywords:

  • mechanical properties;
  • nanocomposites;
  • thermogravimetric analysis (TGA)

Abstract

Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA)/montmorillonite (MMT) nanocomposites were synthesized by a simple technique of a monomer casting method, bulk polymerization. The products were purified by hot acetone extraction and characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), examination of their mechanical properties, and light transmittance testing. Although XRD data did not show any apparent order of the MMT layers in the nanocomposites, TEM revealed parallel MMT layers with interlamellar spacings of an average of 9.8 nm and the presence of remnant multiplets of nonexfoliated layers. Therefore, PMMA chains were intercalated in the galleries of MMT. DSC and TGA traces also corroborated the confinement of the polymer in the inorganic layer by exhibiting the increase of glass-transition temperatures and mass loss temperatures in the thermogram. Both the thermal stability and the mechanical properties of the products appeared to be substantially enhanced, although the light transmittances were not lost. Also, the materials had excellent mechanical properties. Measurement of the tensile properties of the PMMA/MMT nanocomposites indicated that the tensile modulus increased up to 1013 MPa with the addition of 0.6 wt % MMT, which was about 39% higher than that of the corresponding PMMA; the tensile strength and Charpy notched impact strength increased to 88 MPa and 12.9 kJ/m2, respectively. As shown by the aforementioned results, PMMA/MMT nanocomposites may offer new technology and business opportunities. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 97: 348–357, 2005