Morphological characterization of nylon-6 nanocomposite following a large-scale simple shear process



A commercial grade nylon-6/clay nanocomposite (from Ube industries) is subjected to a large-scale simple shear orientation process and the resulting morphology is investigated. Both the orientation and aspect ratio of nanoclays, which can be altered by the simple shear process, are studied. The incorporation of well-dispersed nanoclays into the nylon matrix greatly reduces the nylon chain mobility as well as the percent crystallinity. Two types of lamellar orientation have been found, as revealed by small-angle X-ray scattering. One type of lamellae is oriented ∼41° away from the clay surface, whereas the simple shear process induces another weakly preferred lamellar orientation nearly perpendicular to the clay surface. The formation of the above lamellar orientations appears to be related to both orientation of the clay in the nanocomposite and the simple shear process. The possible molecular mechanisms leading to the final morphology of the nylon-6/clay nanocomposite is discussed. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys 43: 3555–3566, 2005