Polyolefin-based nanocomposite: The effects of processing aids



PP/organoclay nanocomposites were prepared using different processing aids (EMCA and PPG), and their effects on the thermal and mechanical properties were evaluated by WAXD, TEM, SEM, DSC, and mechanical tests. This study helps to clarify the effects of processing aids on the organoclay surface and on the intercalation and exfoliation processes. Nanocomposites with elongated intercalated and partially exfoliated structures were obtained, mainly when C-15A was used. The results for the mechanical properties showed that the processing aids increased the impact strength significantly (up to three times that of neat PP) but reduced the flexural modulus of PP nanocomposites. PPG, which is polar promoted wetting MMT surface, thus increasing its interlayer distance, mainly for PP/C-20A nanocomposites. However, it reduced the interfacial adhesion between the clay and the matrix. Nanocomposites impact strength was improved, especially when the C-15A organoclay was used, while were achieved better results with the C-20A organoclay when EMCA was used. The larger the amount of processing aid added, the higher the impact strength, but the lower the flexural modulus of the nanocomposites. PPG caused debonding of the clay particles and increased the number of microvoids, generating more mechanisms to aid in the energy dissipation of the systems. EMCA promoted debonding of clay particles with the formation of fibrils, indicating stronger interactions between the clay and matrix. A slight nucleation effect for PP crystallization was observed, mainly when EMCA was used. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011