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A novel organic rectorite (OREC) was prepared by treating the natural sodium rectorite (Na-REC) with ionic liquid 1-hexadecyl-3-methylimidazolium bromide ([C16mim]Br). The curing behaviors of nanocomposites were quantitatively studied according to the differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and rheology methods. It was shown by DSC that the activation energies of epoxy system decreased when OREC with reactive imidazole groups were incorporated. The viscosity and viscous flow activation energy were obtained by rheology during the curing reaction. The curing kinetics of the nanocomposites was also deduced from dynamic viscosity analysis and isotherm viscosity analysis. Better dispersion states of the filler can decrease the curing reaction activation energy. The best processing conditions of the nanocomposites were found. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 53:2470–2477, 2013. © 2013 Society of Plastics Engineers