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Bulk and surface mechanical properties of clay modified HDPE used in liner applications



High-density polyethylene (HDPE)/clay nanocomposites were prepared by melt blending process. The HDPE was mixed with different organoclays and polyethylene-grafted-maleic anhydride was used as a compatibiliser. A masterbatch procedure was used to obtain final organoclays concentrations of 1, 2.5 and 5 wt%. The effects of various types of nanoclays and their concentrations on morphological, thermal and mechanical properties of nanocomposites were investigated. Surface mechanical properties such as instrumented nanohardness, modulus of elasticity and creep were also measured using a nanoindentation technique. Young's, storage and loss moduli, were found to be higher than that of the neat polymer at low loading (2.5 wt%) for clay Cloisite 15A and at higher loading (5 wt%) for clay Nanomer 1.44P. The ultimate strength and the toughness decreased slightly compared to pure HDPE. The differential scanning calorimetry analysis revealed that the peak temperature of the nanocomposites increased with increased clay content while the crystallinity decreased. Also, dynamic mechanical analysis revealed the storage and loss moduli are enhanced by addition of nanoclay. Both mechanical and thermal properties of HDPE/Nanomer 1.44P nanocomposite showed interesting trends. All properties first dropped when 1 wt% of the clay was added. Thereafter, a gradual increase or decrease then followed as the loading of Nanomer was increased. These trends were observed for all mechanical properties. The results obtained from nanoindentation tests for surface mechanical properties also showed similar trend to that of bulk measurements. Based on these measurements a nanoclay additive for a liner grade HDPE was selected. © 2011 Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering