Polymer–clay nanocomposites of commercial polystyrene (PS) and clay laponite were prepared via solution intercalation technique. Laponite was modified suitably with the well known cationic surfactant cetyltrimethyl ammonium bromide by ion-exchange reaction to render laponite miscible with hydrophobic PS. X-ray diffraction analysis in combination with scanning electron microscopy gives an idea of structural and morphological information of PS–laponite nanocomposite for different varying organo-laponite contents. Intercalation of PS chain occurs into the interlayer spacings of laponite for low organo-laponite concentration in the PS–O-laponite mixture. However, aggregation and agglomeration occur at higher clay concentration. The molecular bond vibrational profile of laponite as well as PS–laponite nanocomposite have been explored by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Thermogravimetric analysis along with differential scanning calorimetry results reveal the enhancement of both thermal stability and glass transition temperature of PS due to the incorporation of clay platelets.
Volume 42 | Issue 3