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All issues / Volume 6 (2012) / Issue 11 (November)

Is it possible to strengthen rigid polymers by adding low aspect ratio nanofillers?
M. Q. Zhang
Vol. 6., No.11., Pages 859-859, 2012
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2012.91
This is an editorial article. It has no abstract.
Effect of homopolymer poly(vinyl acetate) on compatibility and mechanical properties of poly(propylene carbonate)/poly(lactic acid) blends
J. Gao, H. Bai, Q. Zhang, Y. Gao, L. Chen, Q. Fu
Vol. 6., No.11., Pages 860-870, 2012
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2012.92
A small amount of homopolymer poly(vinyl acetate) (PVAc) is used to compatibilize the biodegradable blends of poly(propylene carbonate) (PPC) and poly(lactic acid) (PLA). Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) results show that PVAc is selectively localized in the PLA phase and at the interface between PPC and PLA phases. As a result, these interface-localized PVAc layers act as not only a compatibilizer to improve the phase dispersion significantly but also a bridge to increase the interfacial adhesion between PPC and PLA phases dramatically. Both of them are believed to be responsible for the enhancement in mechanical properties. This work provides a simple avenue to fabricate eco-friendly PPC/PLA blends with high performance, and in some cases, reducing the demand for petroleumbased plastics such as polypropylene.
Morphology, mechanical properties and thermal degradation kinetics of PMMA-zirconia nanocomposites prepared by melt compounding
T. E. Motaung, A. S. Luyt, M. L. Saladino, D. C. Martino, E. Caponetti
Vol. 6., No.11., Pages 871-881, 2012
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2012.93
Zirconia nanoparticles were synthesized by means of a sol-gel method and embedded in poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) by melt compounding. The zirconia was well dispersed in the PMMA matrix, with only a few clusters, especially for the highest investigated zirconia content. NMR results showed heteronuclear dipolar interactions involving the carbons and the surrounding hydrogen nuclei. The effect of the amount of zirconia, in the range of 1–5!wt%, on the thermomechanical properties and thermal degradation kinetics of PMMA was also investigated by means of dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), thermogravimetric analyses (TGA), and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The presence of zirconia showed a decrease in the storage and loss moduli at lower temperatures, probably due to a plasticization effect. The presence of zirconia in PMMA slightly increased its thermal stability, but the activation energies of thermal degradation for the nanocomposites were significantly lower, at degrees of conversion higher than 0.3, than those of pure PMMA.
Structure, morphology, and mechanical properties of polysiloxane elastomer composites prepared by in situ polymerization of zinc dimethacrylate
Y. Meng, Z. Wei, Y. L. Lu, L. Q. Zhang
Vol. 6., No.11., Pages 882-894, 2012
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2012.94
Methyl vinyl silicone rubber/zinc dimethacrylate (VMQ/ZDMA) composites were prepared through in situ polymerization of ZDMA monomers during the peroxide curing. The polymerization conversion of ZDMA and morphology of the VMQ/ZDMA composites were studied. The results showed that most of the ZDMA monomers participated in the in situ polymerization during the cross-linking of the VMQ matrix and uniform nanophases were formed in the composites. The ‘dissolving-diffusion’ model was used to explain the micro-nano transformation of ZDMA. According to the model, a uniform nano-dispersed structure could be obtained through the in situ reaction even though the initial dispersion of ZDMA in the blends was poor. In addition, tensile tests of VMQ/ZDMA composites showed that ZDMA had a significant reinforcement on the mechanical properties of VMQ, and the best mechanical properties were obtained when the amounts of peroxide and ZDMA were 5 and 40 phr, respectively. The gross crosslink density and ionic crosslink density increased as the amount of ZDMA increased, but the covalent crosslink density decreased slightly. These results indicated that the ionic crosslink structure had a significant effect on the mechanical properties of VMQ/ZDMA composites.
Upgrading of recycled polypropylene by preparing flame retarded layered composite
B. Bodzay, M. Fejos, K. Bocz, A. Toldy, F. Ronkay, Gy. Marosi
Vol. 6., No.11., Pages 895-902, 2012
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2012.95
Upgrading of polypropylene waste was performed by different composite technologies, in order to improve the flame retardancy combined with preserved or improved mechanical properties. The polymer waste of density below 900 kg/m3 is originated from end-of-life vehicles (ELV) after comminution, density separation and comprehensive analysis. Intumescent flame retardant system was used for reducing the flammability; while chopped glass fibre reinforcement was used to compensate the deterioration of mechanical properties caused by flame retardant additives. In mixed composite beside of flame retardants, the reinforcement effect of glass fibre can not be realized; therefore with modification of composite structure (but maintaining the composition) a multilayer composite was developed, which contains 65.5% of recycled polymer, where the core is reinforced with glass fibre covered by flame retarded shell layers. Enhanced flame retardancy (4 min longer time to escape) was achieved by using this layered composite compared to the mixed composite, thus the time to escape could be extended only with modification of composite structure.
Preparation and characterization of multifunctional free-standing Ni/epoxy composite films
X. J. Shen, Y. Liu, Q. P. Feng, H. M. Xiao, S. Y. Fu, K. Friedrich
Vol. 6., No.11., Pages 903-913, 2012
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2012.96
A new method is reported on preparation of multifunctional free-standing Ni/epoxy composite films with comprehensive physical properties under an applied magnetic field. A water soluble poly(vinyl alcohol) film is used as an interlayer film to separate epoxy resin and glass wafer. Ultrafine Ni particles are incorporated into a self-designed flexible-type transparent epoxy resin to get composite films. For the purpose of comparison, random Ni/epoxy composite films are also prepared in the absence of the applied magnetic field. The aligned composite films are endowed with promising optical, mechanical, electrical, and ferromagnetic properties. The specific resistance is 4–9 orders lower in the vertical direction than that in the horizontal plane and the squareness ratio in the vertical direction is about 50% higher than in the horizontal plane. Meanwhile, their transmittance is much higher than that of the random composites. The anisotropies in their electrical and ferromagnetic properties are very useful material characteristics that may be explored for many applications.
Properties of poly(lactic acid) nanocomposites based on montmorillonite, sepiolite and zirconium phosphonate
K. Fukushima, A. Fina, F. Geobaldo, A. Venturello, G. Camino
Vol. 6., No.11., Pages 914-926, 2012
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2012.97
Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) based nanocomposites based on 5 wt.% of an organically modified montmorillonite (CLO), unmodified sepiolite (SEP) and organically modified zirconium phosphonate (ZrP) were obtained by melt blending. Wide angle X-ray scattering (WAXS) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis showed a different dispersion level depending on the type and functionalisation of nanoparticles. Differenctial scanning calorimetric (DSC) analysis showed that PLA was able to crystallize on heating, and that the addition of ZrP could promote extent of PLA crystallization, whereas the presence of CLO and SEP did not significantly affect the crystallization on heating and melting behaviour of PLA matrix. Dynamic Mechanical Thermoanalysis (DMTA) results showed that addition of all nanoparticles brought considerable improvements in E' of PLA, resulting in a remarkable increase of elastic properties for PLA nanocomposites. The melt viscosity and dynamic shear moduli (G',G") of PLA nanocomposites were also enhanced significantly by the presence of CLO and SEP, and attributed to the formation of a PLA/nanoparticle interconnected structure within the polymer matrix. The oxygen permeability of PLA did not significantly vary upon addition of SEP and ZrP nanoparticles. Only addition of CLO led to about 30% decrease compared to PLA permeability, due to the good clay dispersion and clay platelet-like morphology. The characteristic high transparency of PLA in the visible region was kept upon addition of the nanoparticles. Based on these achievements, a high potential of these PLA nanocomposites in sustainable packaging applications could be envisaged.
Influence of ionic liquids on the dielectric relaxation behavior of CNT based elastomer nanocomposites
D. Steinhauser, K. Subramaniam, A. Das, G. Heinrich, M. Klueppel
Vol. 6., No.11., Pages 927-936, 2012
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2012.98
The influence of an imidazolium type ionic liquid (IL) on the relaxation behavior of carbon-nanotube (CNT) based polychloroprene nanocomposites prepared by melt mixing has been investigated by broadband dielectric spectroscopy. It is demonstrated that the presence of the ionic liquid modifies the relaxation behavior of the pure rubber matrix and leads to a significant increase of the conductivity for the CNT/rubber composites. For the unfilled rubber, a distinct glass transition of the IL is observed for high concentrations demonstrating that the IL forms a separate phase. The increased conductivity of the CNT-filled rubber composites is related to a physical coupling between CNTs and rubber matrix mediated by IL leading to a better dispersion of the CNTs.
Development of novel melt-compounded starch-grafted polypropylene/polypropylene-grafted maleic anhydride/organoclay ternary hybrids
R. Tessier, E. Lafranche, P. Krawczak
Vol. 6., No.11., Pages 937-952, 2012
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2012.99
Starch-grafted polypropylene (PP-g-starch)/organoclay nanocomposites were melt-compounded using a corotating twin-screw extruder. Homopolymer or copolymer-based polypropylene-grafted maleic anhydrides (PP-g-MA) with different molecular weights and different maleic anhydride (MA) grafting levels were added at different weight contents as compatibilizer. Two organo-modified montmorillonites were used, the first one containing polar functional groups (Cloisite®30B) having affinity to the starch phase, and the other one containing non polar-groups (Cloisite®20A) having affinity to the polypropylene phase of the polymer matrix. Whatever the MA grafting level and the molecular weight and content of PP-g-MA, no significant immiscibility of PP-g-starch/PP-g-MA blends is evidenced. Regarding clay dispersion, adding a low content of ethylene-propylene copolymer-based PP-g-MA compatibilizer having a high MA-grafting level, and a polar organoclay (Cloisite®30B) is the most desirable formulation to optimize clay intercalation and exfoliation in PP-g-starch. Nevertheless, regarding the reinforcement effect, whatever the PP-g-MA compatibilizer, the addition of non polar organoclay (Cloisite®20A) is preferably recommended to reach higher tensile properties (modulus, yield stress, strength) without significant loss of ductility.
Published by:

Budapest University of Technology and Economics,
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Polymer Engineering