Polypeptide-based nanocomposite: Structure and properties of poly(L-lysine)/Na+-montmorillonite



The feasibility of constructing polymer/clay nanocomposites with polypeptides as the matrix material is shown. Cationic poly-L-lysine · HBr (PLL) was reinforced by sodium montmorillonite clay. The PLL/clay nanocomposites were made via the solution-intercalation film-casting technique. X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy data indicated that montmorillonite layers intercalated with PLL chains coexist with exfoliated layers over a wide range of relative PLL/clay compositions. Differential scanning calorimetry suggests that the presence of clay suppresses crystal formation in PLL relative to the neat polypeptide and slightly decreases the PLL melting temperature. Despite lower crystallinity, dynamic mechanical analysis revealed a significant increase in the storage modulus of PLL with an increase in clay loading producing storage modulus magnitudes on par with traditional engineering thermoplastics. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys 40: 2579–2586, 2002