Oxygen and water vapor barrier properties of MMT nanocomposites from low density polyethylene or EPM with grafted succinic groups.J Nanosci Nanotechnol. 2008 Apr; 8(4):1690-9.JN
LDPE, EPM and their derivatives containing a moderate amount (0.08-1.8 by mol) of diethylsuccinate or succinic anhydryde groups were used as matrices in blending with different amount of organophilic montmorillonites and the resulting composite morphology and structure (by XRD, SEM, TEM microscopy, DSC analysis and selective solvent extraction) were studied with reference to the polar groups/MMT ratio. Exfoliated, intercalated and mixed morphologies were achieved. High concentrations of polar groups grafted to the polyolefin and montmorillonite loading not larger than 5% wt were favourable for obtaining high exfoliation degree. Particularly in the exfoliated MMT composite LDPE had lower crystallinity degree, while EPM showed increased glass transition temperature and reduced solubility in hot toluene. Moreover, oxygen and water vapor barrier property improvement was observed in films where MMT exhibits either exfoliated or intercalated morphologies. Strong interactions with the montmorillonite particle surface through the polar groups grafted to the polyolefin seems to be the basic effect responsible for the morphology and peculiar properties. A model based on the reduced mobility of the polymer located near the particle surface or inside the MMT gallery (confined phase) was proposed to explain the observed oxygen permeability reduction, the T(g) increase and solubility of poly(ethylene-ran-propylene)/MMT nanocomposites.