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Keywords:

  • nanocomposites;
  • polyethylene (PE);
  • clay;
  • supports metallocene catalysts

Abstract

A novel approach to the preparation of polyethylene (PE) nanocomposites, with montmorillonite/silica hybrid (MT-Si) supported catalyst, was developed. MT-Si was prepared by depositing silica nanoparticles between galleries of the MT. A common zirconocene catalyst [bis(cyclopentadienyl)zirconium dichloride/methylaluminoxane] was fixed on the MT-Si surface by a simple method. After ethylene polymerization, two classes of nanofillers (clay layers and silica nanoparticles) were dispersed concurrently in the PE matrix and PE/clay–silica nanocomposites were obtained. Exfoliation of the clay layers and dispersion of the silica nanoparticles were examined with transmission electron microscopy. Physical properties of the nanocomposites were characterized by tensile tests, dynamic mechanical analysis, and DSC. The nanocomposites with a low nanofiller loading (<10 wt %) exhibited good mechanical properties. The nanocomposite powder produced with the supported catalyst had a granular morphology and a high bulk density, typical of a heterogeneous catalyst system. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem 42: 941–949, 2004