Properties of organo-clay/natural rubber nanocomposites: Effects of organophilic modifiers



The effect of various modifiers on the structure and properties of clay/natural rubber nanocomposites are investigated with the aim to evaluate the effect of size and structure of the modifier. Nanocomposites are prepared by melt intercalation method. Mechanical properties of the cured rubber containing nanoclay are compared with the reference compound without the filler. No improvement of mechanical properties is observed for small organic cations; however, stress and strain at break of clay/rubber nanocomposites increase with rising number of octyl chains in the interlayer spaces of organo-clays. Concerning organo-cations with the same number of carbon atoms, more effective are the modifiers with several shorter carbon chains compared to those with one long chain. The composites exhibit hybrid structure of nanocomposite and microcomposite as revealed by X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The details of the structure are supported by DMTA and hysteresis measurements. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013