Preparation and characterization of thermally stable organoclays and their use in polymer based nanocomposites

Abdallah, Wissam
The present study was aimed at exploring the purification and modification of montmorillonite rich Turkish bentonites by organic salts and their subsequent effects on the morphology (X-diffractometry, transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy), melt flow index, mechanical (Tensile, Impact) and especially thermal stability (thermal gravimetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry) properties of polymer/organoclay nanocomposites with and without an elastomeric compatibilizer. The bentonite clay mined from Reşadiye (Tokat/Turkey) was purified by sedimentation, resulting in higher cation exchange capacity and thermal stability in comparison to unpurified clay, and then used in the synthesis of six thermally stable organoclays by replacing the interlayer inorganic sodium cations with two (alkyl, aryl) phosphonium and four di-(alkyl, aryl) imidazolium surfactant cations in an attempt to overcome the problem of early decomposition of alkyl ammonium organoclays usually used in polymer nanocomposites. An optimum amount of these organoclays (wt %2) was then used in the production of Polyamide 66 and Poly(ethylene terephthalate) based nanocomposites by melt blending with the help of an optimum amount of elastomeric compatibilizer (wt %5) which also acted as impact modifier. Phosphonium organoclays were used in the production of nanocomposites for both polymers, whereas imidazolium organoclays were used with PET only. The importance of clay purification was revealed in the removal of non-clay minerals available in the raw bentonite clay as confirmed by XRF and XRD, the significant increase in cation exchange capacity and the improved thermal stability of the purified clays as proven by TGA. The interlayer spacing of the phosphonium organoclays ranged from 1.78 to 2.52 nm indicating arrangement between pseudo-trilayers and paraffin-type chains, while the interlayer spacing of imidazolium organoclays ranged between 1.35 nm and 1.45 nm indicating a monolayer arrangement. The effects of chemical structure (chain type), counter ion and alkyl chain length on the thermal stability of the imidazolium salts were investigated. TGA analysis showed that the thermal stability of (alkyl, aryl) phosphonium and di-(alkyl, aryl) imidazolium organoclays proved to be superior to conventionally used quaternary alkyl ammonium organoclays. Not only the thermal stability of the organoclays prevented the nanocomposite from early decomposition, but these organoclays also improved the onset decomposition temperatures of PA66 and PET nanocomposites compared to the pure polymer owing to the dominant barrier effect of the silicate layers as a result of the formation of carbonaceous-silicate char. The reinforcement of PA66 with surface modified phosphonium organoclays and PET with surface modified phosphonium and imidazolium organoclays enhanced the mechanical and thermal properties of the binary and ternary nanocomposites. The mechanical properties were in good agreement with DSC analysis for all the PA66 and PET compositions. The presence of elastomer and organoclays promoted the nucleation process in PA66 blend, binary and ternary nanocomposites. However, the presence of elastomer and organoclay retarded the nucleation in most of the PET composites.
Citation Formats
W. Abdallah, “Preparation and characterization of thermally stable organoclays and their use in polymer based nanocomposites,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2010.