Nanocompósitos de polietileno linear de baixa densidade (LLDPE)/argila montmorilonita: processamento, morfologia e propriedades
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Polymer nanocomposites filled with lamellar silicates are considered hybrid materials (organic-inorganic) of great interest both in industry and the universities, since their properties are superior to neat polymer. In this work LLDPE/ montmorillonite clay (Cloisite 20A) nanocomposites were prepared by diluting a masterbatch (20%w/w) clay, on a twin-screw extruder to get final concentrations of 1.5%, 2.5%, 5.0 %, 7.5% and 10.0% clay, by using LLDPE-g-MA as compatibilizer in a 2:1 ratio with the montmorillonite clay. With the aid of the techniques for structural characterization, it was observed that the montmorillonite clay shows good distribution in the nanocomposite up to 5.0% clay and, moreover these samples clay are dispersed in intercalated and exfoliated (predominantly) forms. In nanocomposites 7.5 and 10.0% clay was observed that the distribution and dispersion are impaired, coexisting intercalated and aggregate clay form (predominantly). TEM images were used to estimate the aspect ratio of the dispersed clay in the nanocomposite. In this case, the nanocomposite with 1.5% clay showed value between 10 and 12. Using thermogravimetric analysis, it was possible to evaluate the thermal stability. In this case can be observed that the clay increased the thermal stability of the matrix of LLDPE with only 1.5% clay. DSC curves showed that there is no strong interaction between montmorillonite clay and LLDPE, since there is no displacement of the melting peaks of these nanocomposites compared to the peak of neat LLDPE. The clay improves also the mechanical properties of the nanocomposites relative to LLDPE and increase the modulus value around 50% and 20% for impact resistance with 5.0% montmorillonite clay. The gas permeation test shows that the montmorillonite clay improves the barrier property of LLDPE to water vapor, oxygen and carbon dioxide. In addition, the sorption test shows that the clay improves also the barrier property to dichloromethane molecules. Finally these montmorillonite clay nanocomposites were exposed to water and fuels aging and after this their properties were characterized and it was related to their structure after aging. In this case, it is observed that the aging process causes a change in its structure and it reflects the final property of polymeric material (mechanical, thermal, barrier).