Diffusion behavior of water and sulfuric acid in epoxy/organoclay nanocomposites



The research on polymer-layered silicate nanocomposites is currently an expanding field of study because they often exhibit a wide range of improved properties over their unmodified starting polymers. Epoxy/organoclay nanocomposites have been prepared by intercalating epoxy into the organoclay montmorillonite. The intercalation and/or exfoliation of the clay within the nanocomposite were monitored using X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy. Diffusion was studied through epoxy samples containing up to 10 phr of organically treated montmorillonite following the gravity method. The water and sulfuric acid diffusion within the epoxy-based nanocomposites were evaluated in terms of diffusivity, weight change and penetration depth of the sulfuric acid element S as function of immersion time and immersion temperature. An investigation of the resistance of epoxy nanocomposite to a corrosive environment by immersion into sulfuric acid at elevated temperature was performed. The effect of the degree of exfoliation of the clay on moisture barrier effect and corrosion resistance is specifically studied. The data has been compared to those obtained from the neat epoxy resin to evaluate the diffusion properties of the nanocomposites. It was found that the diffusion of water and that of acid do not obey Fick's law, and that the higher the organoclay content the higher weight change was obtained. The presence of the organoclay enhanced the diffusivity and delayed the penetration of the sulfuric acid. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009