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Purification and modification of bentonite and its use in polypropylene and linear low density polyethylene matrix nanocomposites

Seyidoğlu, Tijen
The potential use of Reşadiye/Tokat bentonite as a reinforcement in polypropylene (PP) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) polymer matrix nanocomposites filler was investigated. At first, organoclays (OC) were prepared by cation exchange reaction (CER) between the raw bentonite (RB) and three quaternary ammonium salts with long alkyl tails (QA): hexadecyl trimethyl ammonium bromide [HMA] [Br], tetrabutyl ammonium tetrafluoroborate [TBA] [BF4], tetrakisdecyl ammonium bromide [TKA] [Br] and one quaternary phosphonium (QP) salt: tetrabutyl phosphonium tetrafluroborate [TBP] [BF4]. Characterization of resulting materials by XRD, TGA, FTIR and chemical analysis confirmed the formation of organoclays. Ternary composites of PP/organoclay/ maleic anhydride grafted polypropylene (MAPP) were prepared with two different grades of PPs in a co-rotating twin screw extruder. Composites prepared with these organoclays and PPs showed microcomposite formation. In the second part of the study, raw bentonite was purified by sedimentation, and characterization of purified bentonite (PB) by XRD, cation exchange capacity (CEC) measurement and chemical analysis (ICP) confirmed the success of purification method. PB was then modified with two QA`s: dimethyl dioctadecylammonium chloride [DMDA] [Cl], tetrakis decylammonium bromide [STKA] [Br] and one QP: tributyl hexadecyl phosphonium bromide [TBHP] [Br]. Organoclays from PB were used with the PP with lower viscosity, and ternary nanocomposites (PP/Organoclay2/MAPP5) were prepared in the extruder followed by batch mixing in an intensive batch mixer. Use of DMDA and TBHP OCs resulted in nanocomposite formation, while STKA resulted in microcomposite formation as observed by XRD and TEM. Young`s modulus and yield stress of the samples were enhanced through nanocomposite formation. In the last part of the study, ternary composites of LLDPE/Organoclay/ compatibilizer, a random terpolymer of ethylene, butyl acrylate and maleic anhydride (E-BA-MAH, Lotader®3210), were prepared by melt compounding in the batch mixer at two different clay concentrations (2 and 5 wt %) and fixed compatibilizer/organoclay ratio (α=2.5). A commercial organoclay, I34, was also used in LLDPE based nanocomposites to make a comparison. XRD and TEM analyses of the compounds prepared by DMDA and TBHP showed mixed nanocomposite morphologies consisting of partially intercalated and exfoliated layers. Young`s modulus and tensile strength of nanocomposites prepared with DMDA and TBHP showed generally higher values compared to those of neat LLDPE, while results were the highest in the composites prepared with commercial organoclay I34. Parallel disk rheometry was used as a supplementary technique to XRD, TEM and mechanical characterizations, and it was shown to be a sensitive tool in assessing the degree of dispersion of clay layers in the polymer matrix.