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Materials 2014, 7(6), 4196-4223; doi:10.3390/ma7064196

Comparison of the Nanostructure and Mechanical Performance of Highly Exfoliated Epoxy-Clay Nanocomposites Prepared by Three Different Protocols

1
Centre for NanoEngineering, Departament de Màquines i Motors Tèrmics, Escola Tècnica Superior d'Enginyeries Industrial i Aeronàutica (ETSEIAT), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Terrassa 08222, Barcelona, Spain
2
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, C/Països Catalans 26, Tarragona 43007, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 November 2013 / Revised: 28 December 2013 / Accepted: 12 May 2014 / Published: 30 May 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanocomposites of Polymers and Inorganic Particles 2013)
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Abstract

Three different protocols for the preparation of polymer layered silicate nanocomposites based upon a tri-functional epoxy resin, triglycidyl para-amino phenol (TGAP), have been compared in respect of the cure kinetics, the nanostructure and their mechanical properties. The three preparation procedures involve 2 wt% and 5 wt% of organically modified montmorillonite (MMT), and are: isothermal cure at selected temperatures; pre-conditioning of the resin-clay mixture before isothermal cure; incorporation of an initiator of cationic homopolymerisation, a boron tri-fluoride methyl amine complex, BF3·MEA, within the clay galleries. It was found that features of the cure kinetics and of the nanostructure correlate with the measured impact strength of the cured nanocomposites, which increases as the degree of exfoliation of the MMT is improved. The best protocol for toughening the TGAP/MMT nanocomposites is by the incorporation of 1 wt% BF3·MEA into the clay galleries of nanocomposites containing 2 wt% MMT.
Keywords: nanocomposite; exfoliation; pre-conditioning; mechanical properties; homopolymerisation; epoxy; layered silicate; differential scanning calorimetry; nanostructure; montmorillonite nanocomposite; exfoliation; pre-conditioning; mechanical properties; homopolymerisation; epoxy; layered silicate; differential scanning calorimetry; nanostructure; montmorillonite
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Shiravand, F.; Hutchinson, J.M.; Calventus, Y.; Ferrando, F. Comparison of the Nanostructure and Mechanical Performance of Highly Exfoliated Epoxy-Clay Nanocomposites Prepared by Three Different Protocols. Materials 2014, 7, 4196-4223.

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