Polymer, Vol.47, No.12, 4421-4433, 2006
Impact fracture behavior of clay-reinforced polypropylene nanocomposites
The micromechanism of plastic deformation during impact loading of polypropylene-clay nanocomposites is examined and compared with the unreinforced polypropylene under identical conditions of processing to underscore the determining role of clay. The addition of clay to polypropylene increases the impact strength in the temperature range of 0 to + 70 degrees C. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), wide-angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques provided an understanding of the micromechanism of plastic deformation in terms of the response of the polymer matrix, nucleating capability of the reinforcement, crystal structure, percentage crystallinity, lamellae thickness, and particle-matrix interface. The enhancement of toughness on reinforcement of polypropylene with nanoclay is associated with change in the primary mechanism of plastic deformation from crazing and vein-type in neat polypropylene to microvoid-coalescence-fibrillation process in the nanocomposite. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.