Taguchi-based analysis of polyamide 6/acrylonitrile–butadiene rubber/nanoclay nanocomposites: The role of processing variables



Applying the Taguchi method of experimental design, we prepared various polyamide 6 (PA6)/acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBR)/nanoclay nanocomposites under different processing conditions by melt mixing in an internal mixer. The effects of the processing variables, including the rotor speed, chamber temperature, and mixing order on the morphology, that is, the rubber particle size and interlayer distance, and the mechanical properties, that is, the tensile modulus and impact strength, were then investigated. As demonstrated with the Taguchi approach, the lower temperature associated with higher rotor speeds improved the mechanical properties of the 90/5/5 PA6/NBR/nanoclay systems. However, it was revealed that the mixing order did not affect the mechanical properties for the assigned composition. Hence, the simultaneous mixing of all the ingredients is seemingly the simplest way of mixing to obtain the desired mechanical properties. These results were confirmed with transmission and scanning electron microscopy observations and X-ray diffraction measurements. Image analysis corresponding to the mean particle size of the NBR constituent was also performed. The optimum processing condition to achieve the appropriate mechanical properties is ultimately predicted by the Taguchi analysis and corresponded to a chamber temperature of 230°C and a screw speed of 80 rpm. Moreover, the simultaneous mixing of all of the ingredients was suggested for convenience. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 130: 820-828, 2013