• hydrogels;
  • nanocomposites;
  • poly(vinyl alcohol);
  • small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS)


Poly(vinyl alcohol)/montmorillonite (PVA/MOM) hydrogels containing coacervated microparticles of sulfonated polyester (PES) were prepared by direct mixture of the components in water. The system was characterized by using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), and dynamical mechanical analysis (DMA). The influence of PES and MOM on the microstructure of the nanocomposite hydrogels was established. The presence of PES causes a significant change on the crystallinity of PVA. Furthermore, the presence of MOM leads to a hierarchical nanostructure that also contributes to change the crystallinity of PVA. The results of structural investigation are correlated with the mechanical properties of the composites obtained by DMA. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys 46: 2618–2629, 2008