Reinforced Nano-composite Films with Reduced Environmental Impact

A.F. Chen, J.H. Wang, G. Wideman
Kimberly-Clark Corporation,
United States

Keywords: organoclay, polyethylene, nanocomposites, film


It has been well-recognized that blending of two or more polymers is an effective way for developing new materials with useful combinations of properties, not available in a single polymer. To broaden the application of available polymers, another effective approach is to modify their technical properties by the addition of fillers. In recent decades, polymeric materials have been filled with nanoscale platelets because the incorporation of such filler into the polymer matrices resulted in unexpectedly enhanced properties such as mechanical and thermo-mechanical properties, barrier properties, reduced flammability, improved and reduced thermal expansion. Nanocomposites are of particular interest because such systems exhibit unique combinations of properties that are not easily attained through conventional routes. On important issue existing in nanocomposite is the homogeneous distribution of nanofiller within the polymer matrix. For polyolefin blends with nanoclay, the hydrophilic clay and hydrophobic polymer are not compatible in their virgin states. Thus a modification of either the polymer or clay is necessary for the dispersion, intercalation and/or exfoliation of clay tactoids in the polyolefin matrix. In this study, a performance-enhanced polyethylene (PE)/Nanoclay composites through using surface modified organoclay masterbatch and compatiblizer (maleic anhydride grafted polyolefin) was successfully obtained. Optimizing the surface modification and amount of nanoclay, as well as processing conditions were the keys to produce high performance cast films. Overall mechanical properties of the nanocomposite films were tested. Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) characterization will also be included for morphological discussion.