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Effect of different dispersing additives on the morphology and the properties of polyethylene-based nanocomposite films

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Journal: eXPRESS Polymer Letters
ISSN 1788-618X

Volume: 5;
Issue: 10;
Start page: 923;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Nanocomposites | polar wax | dispersing additives | polyethylene-based nanocomposi | mechanical behaviour

ABSTRACT
In this work, the use of a polar wax, e.g. amphiphilic Tegomer® E 525 (TEG) is investigated with the aim of modifying, and possibly improving, the dispersion of an organically modified nanoclay (OMMT), loaded at 5 wt%, in a polyethylene matrix (PE) at relatively low loading levels. We have indeed found that the incorporation of low loadings, e.g. 0.5 wt%, of TEG, an amphiphilic block co-polymer, into a PE/OMMT sample results in a substantial improvement of the clay dispersion in the nanocomposite and, consequently, of the mechanical and thermomechanical properties of the films. The achieved results are comparable to those obtained for systems containing traditional dispersing agents such as maleated PE (PEgMA) and ethylene-acrylic acid copolymer (EAA), at higher loadings, i.e. at 5 wt%. It has also been found that by increasing the polar wax content, i.e. 1–5 wt%, no useful improvement in the mechanical behaviour and morphology of the PE films was obtained. At high loadings of the polar wax relatively the short chains are arranged into the clay particles galleries and intercalation of the polyethylene chains between the clay platelets may be hindered. Additionally at high TEG loadings, the presence of the new polar groups of the wax also on external surfaces of the clay particles is expected to promote aggregation of the clay particles, with a loss of the beneficial effect of the more dispersed clay particles on the polymer mechanical/thermomechanical properties. The reported results strongly indicate that the amphiphilic TEG dispersing additive, may advantageously be used, at substantially lower loadings, as an alternative to incumbent PEgMA in the formulation of nanocomposites to improve their macroscopic performances.

Tango Rapperswil
Tango Rapperswil

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