Journal of Applied Polymer Science, Vol.108, No.3, 1818-1828, 2008
New poly(phenylene oxide)/polystyrene blend nanocomposites with clay: Intercalation, thermal and mechanical properties
We present the first study and results on the preparation and characterization of montmorillonite clay filter based polymer blend nanocomposites of the miscible poly(phenylene oxide)/polystyrene blend. Intercalated nanocomposites, prepared by a melt-processing method with 2-6 wt % commercially available organically modified sodium montmorillonite, have been characterized with wide-angle X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy analysis, thermal analysis (thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry), and mechanical tensile tests. We show that nanocomposites can be successfully prepared in a batch mixer at temperatures much below the conditions conventionally used for this blend without organic degradation. Thermal stability is enhanced by nanoscale hybrid formation. The level of intercalation (change in the d-spacing) does not change with the clay loading. Better dispersion of clay in the blend matrix has been observed at a low level of clay content. The nanocomposites show improved tensile modulus (by 31%) in comparison to the blend, whereas the tensile strength (stress at break) and elongation decrease in the presence of the filler with an increase in the clay loading. The Halpin-Tsai model is able to predict the modulus of the nanocomposites in very good agreement with the experimental data. (c) 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.