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Abstract

Experimental results are presented for nanocomposite foams based on unplasticized poly(vinyl chloride)/(wood flour)/(multi-wall carbon nanotubes) (PVC/WF/MWCNTs). The nanocomposite samples were prepared in an internal mixer and foamed via a batch processing method using compression molding. Nanoparticles were functionalized by sodium hypochlorite solution, and the functionalization process was monitored by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. The effects of MWCNTs (both neat and functionalized) and blowing agent concentration on the morphological properties (cell size and cell density) and mechanical properties (tensile and flexural strength) of the foam samples were studied. The results revealed that foam cell sizes decreased and cell densities increased with addition of MWCNTs. The dispersion of nanoparticles in the PVC medium was increased by functionalization, and the morphological properties of the foams containing functionalized nanoparticles were improved. Density of nanocomposite foams decreased more with functionalized MWCNTs as compared to other samples. Chemical blowing agent concentration had no significant effect on sample density. Mechanical properties of the samples were improved by using functionalized MWCNTs in comparison with those of foams without this component. J. VINYL ADDIT. TECHNOL., 18:161–167, 2012. © 2012 Society of Plastics Engineers