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Characterization of serpentine filled polypropylene

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2008
Can, Semra
In this study, the aim is to prepare polypropylene (PP)/serpentine composites and study their mechanical, thermal and morphological properties. Another objective is to explore whether it is possible to have PP/serpentine nanocomposites with melt intercalation method by using the advantage of the layer silicate structure of serpentine. The most widely used fillers in PP are talc and mica which belong to the phyllosilicates group of silicate minerals. So far, there has been almost no study employing serpentine as filler in either any polymers or PP, although it also belongs to the same group of minerals as talc and mica. Accordingly, it was planned to divide the work into the study of two groups. In group 1, for the compositions with 2, 5, 10 and 20 wt% serpentine, the particulate filler effects of serpentine both alone and in the presence of surface treatments with hydrochloric acid (HCl) and silane coupling agent (SCA) were investigated. The most impressive results in terms of static and dynamic mechanical properties were achieved with SCA rather than HCl. When the effect of serpentine without any treatment is considered, reinforcing effect of it can easily be observed without deteriorating the composite properties even at high filler loadings. In group 2, the nanofiller effects of serpentine in 2 and 5 wt% filled compositions by modification of both the filler and the matrix were aimed to be examined with melt intercalation method. In addition to HCl and SCA treatments, maleic anhydride grafted polypropylene (PP-g-MA) and quaternary ammonium salt (QAS) of cetyl-trimethyl-ammonium bromide were used as compatibilizer and intercalating agent, respectively. While the amount of QAS was kept constant, different percentages of compatibilizer were employed. The presence of QAS and PP-g-MA further improved the properties with respect to group 1 members. Interestingly, the percentage strain at break values did not decrease as much as group 1 compositions with the same filler content. It can be concluded that partial intercalation of group 2 compositions was achieved, according to the X-ray and TEM results. Keywords: Serpentine, PP/serpentine composites, SCA, PP-g-MA, serpentine nanocomposites