Grafting of montmorillonite nano-clay with butyl acrylate and methyl methacrylate by atom transfer radical polymerization: Blends with poly(BuA-co-MMA)



11-(2-Bromo-2-methyl)propionyl-oxy-undecyl trichlorosilane atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) initiator was covalently attached on montmorillonite clay platelets via silylation reactions. The initiator clay was used to polymerize butyl acrylate (BuA) and methyl methacrylate (MMA) on the clay surface. Polymerization was performed in bulk monomer solution or in DMSO. Polymer modified clay was mixed with a poly(BuA-co-MMA) matrix. Small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) showed that clay modified in DMSO gave exfoliated composites when mixed with the matrix copolymer. Mechanical properties of the composites were studied by dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA). The results showed that the mechanical properties were improved as a function of clay content, as well with an increasing homogeneity of the nanocomposite. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem 47: 3086–3097, 2009