Poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT) nanocomposites films are prepared by a solution intercalation process using natural montmorillonite (MMT) and cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB)-modified montmorillonite (CMMT). Cation exchange technique has been used for modification of MMT by CTAB and characterized by Fourier transform infrared analysis, thermo-gravimetric analysis, and X-ray diffraction (XRD) studies. CMMT gives better dispersion in the PBAT matrix than MMT and is confirmed by XRD and transmission electron microscopy. Because of better compatibility of CMMT, water vapor transmission rate of PBAT decreases more in the presence of CMMT than MMT. The biodegradability of PBAT and its nanocomposite films are studied in compost and from the morphological analysis it is apparent that the PBAT/CMMT shows a lower biodegradation rate in comparison to the PBAT/MMT. The antimicrobial activity of PBAT and its nanocomposite films is tested by an inhibition zone method. Because of the presence of the quaternary ammonium group of CTAB-modified MMT, PBAT/CMMT nanocomposites show adequate antimicrobial activity. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 40079.
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