Polystyrene (PS)/calcium carbonate (CaCO3) nanocomposites were prepared by in situ polymerization in the presence of maleic anhydride (MA). The composites were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectra, gel permeation chromatography, differential scanning calorimetry, controlled stress rheometer, scanning electron microscope (SEM), small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), and mechanical test. Results show that the copolymer of styrene (St) and MA formed during the polymerization acts as a compatibilizer between PS and nanometer calcium carbonate (nano-CaCO3) particles, resulting in an increase in the glass transition temperature of the composite. The complex modulus and the impact strength of the PS/nano-CaCO3 composite show an increase with the addition of MA on account of the enhanced interfacial adhesion and the increased molecular weight. SEM and SAXS analyses indicate that a finer dispersion of nanoparticles and an increased homogeneity of the PS/nano-CaCO3 composites are obtained with application of a small amount of MA. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci., 2013
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