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Nanocomposites – from research to reality

SpecialChem / Nov 3, 2004

Recently, layered silicate based nanocomposites have found a lot of attention as a simple and cost effective method to enhance polymer properties by the addition of a small amount of suitable designed fillers (organoclays), leading to the creation of composite materials where the reinforcing particles are distributed in the polymeric matrix at the nanometer level. Depending on the nature of the filler distribution within the matrix, the morphology of the generated nanocomposites can evolve from the so-called intercalated nanocomposites with a regular alternation of the layered silicates and polymer monolayers to the exfoliated (delaminated) type of nanocomposites where the layered silicates are randomly and homogeneously distributed within the polymer matrix (figure 1). The easiest and economic most interested way to produce these types of materials is kneading the polymer in the molten state with a layered silicate such as montmorillonite, usually modified organophilic by exchanging the native Na+ interlayer cation with an alkylammonium cation.

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