Articles written in Bulletin of Materials Science
Volume 31 Issue 1 February 2008 pp 23-28 Composites
In the present work, a set of experimental polypropylene (PP) clay composites containing pristine bentonite clay of Indian origin has been prepared and then characterized. The polymer clay composites are processed by solution mixing of polypropylene with bentonite clay using a solvent xylene and high speed electric stirrer at a temperature around 130°C and then by compression molding at 170°C. The mechanical properties of PP–clay composites like tensile strength, hardness and impact resistance have been investigated. Microstructural studies were carried out using scanning electron microscope and transmission electron microscope and the thermal properties were studied using differential scanning calorimeter. Mechanical properties of the prepared composites showed highest reinforcing and toughening effects of the clay filler at a loading of only 5 mass % in PP matrix. Tensile strength was observed to be highest in case of 5 mass % of clay loading and it was more than 14% of that of the neat PP, while toughness increased by more than 80%. Bentonite clay–PP composite (5 mass %) also showed 60% increase in impact energy value. However, no significant change was observed in case of hardness and tensile modulus. Higher percentages of bentonite clay did not further improve the properties with respect to pristine polypropylene. The study of the microstructure of the prepared polymer layered silicate clay composites showed a mixed morphology with multiple stacks of clay layers and tactoids of different thicknesses.
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