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Abstract

Polyamide-6 nanocomposites were prepared using two organoclays, Cloisite 30B and Cloisite 15A, and Cloisite Na+, which is unmodified sodium montmorillonite (Na-MMT) clay. Nanocomposites were prepared using two twin-screw extrusion systems: System B employing conventional mixing and residence time conditions, while System A was modified to achieve longer residence time and higher mixing efficiency. The work considers the effects of mixing conditions, residence time, and interactions between the polymer and clay surface on the structure and mechanical properties of polyamide-6 (PA-6)/clay nanocomposites. Furthermore, a comparison was made between experimental data and the predictions of composite models usually employed to predict mechanical properties of nanocomposites. The melt processing of Cloisite 30B in System A produced the highest degrees of exfoliation and the largest enhancement of mechanical properties. The aspect ratios of the filler particles in the nanocomposites were estimated from TEM micrographs and from composite models. Yield stress data were employed to calculate the values of parameter B in Pukanszky's equation, which incorporates the effects of the interfacial interaction, interfacial strength, and specific surface area of the filler particles. POLYM. ENG. SCI. 46:1094–1103, 2006. © 2006 Society of Plastics Engineers