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Surfactant concentration effects on amorphous PETG–montmorillonite layered silicate (MLS) nanocomposite films

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Improvements in the dispersion of montmorillonite layered silicates (MLS) have centered on appropriate surfactant treatment of the MLS, to ensure chemical interaction with the polymer material. Here, polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) nanocomposites made with two MLS cation exchanged with dimethyl dihydrogenated tallow quaternary ammonium at two concentrations, 95 (MLS‐95) and 125 meq (100 g)−1 (MLS‐125), were investigated. The host MLS had a cation exchange capacity (CEC) around 92 meq (100 g)−1. The effect of exchanging past the CEC was studied with respect to the dispersion, glass transition and mechanical properties. Films were extruded on a single‐screw extruder with a film die attached. X‐ray diffraction (XRD) and optical transmission measurements indicated that increasing surfactant concentration changed the dispersion from intercalated to immiscible. The differences in the dispersion were related to the inherent degradation temperature of the MLS treated with the different surfactant concentrations, relative to the processing temperature. The over‐exchanged MLS (MLS‐125) suffered more surfactant degradation leading to an immiscible dispersion and narrower XRD peaks reflected a higher degree of ordering. In contrast, the XRD peaks of the MLS‐95 nanocomposites had increased breadth indicating decreased ordering. MLS orientation, however, did not influence birefringence measured by polarized Fourier‐transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). All nanocomposites showed no significant changes in the glass transition temperatures. Copyright © 2005 Society of Chemical Industry
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Keywords: birefringence; degradation; nanocomposites; processing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of North Texas, Department of Materials Science, Denton, Texas 76203-5310, USA 2: US Army Natick Soldier Center, Nanomaterials Science Team, Natick, MA 01760-5020, USA

Publication date: 2005-06-01

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