Effect of Nanoclay on the Physical-Mechanical and Thermal Properties and Microstructure of Extruded Noncross-Linked LDPE Nanocomposite Foams
Novel noncross-linked low density polyethylene (LDPE) foams were produced by extrusion process. In this study the effects of Organophilic Montmorillonite (OMMT) nanoclay (DK1) on thermal conductivity, flame retardancy, morphological and mechanical properties of LDPE foams have been investigated. Nanoclay dispersion in LDPE foam structure was examined by X-ray diffraction (XRD), microstructure was observed by an optical microscope and analyzed by Bel View image analyzer, thermal conductivity was studied by a simple transient method, mechanical properties was investigated using a tensile-compression Zwick-Roell machine as well as the flame retardancy of the samples was examined by flammability test. The optimum nanoclay content was determined by comparison of the properties in nanocomposite and neat LDPE foams. Due to the presence of nanoclay in the foam and decreasing the cell nucleation energy around the nanoclay, the average cell size was decreased as well as the cell density and microstructure uniformity was increased. In XRD patterns of LDPE nanocomposite foams, OMMT (DK1) characteristic peak was not observed as evidence of nanoclay intercalation-exfoliation in the polymer matrix, which led to the production of foams with homogenous microstructure. Furthermore, this nanocomposites showed lower thermal conductivity compared to neat LDPE foam, which can be attributed to the cell size reduction as well as narrow cell size distribution in nanocomposite foams. Compression test results demonstrated that LDPE nanocomposite foams with proper clay contents have improved mechanical properties (Young’s modulus, compressive strength). Furthermore due to the presence of DK1 nanoclay, LDPE foam showed a good char formation as an evidence of their flame retardancy.
S.M. Sapuan, F. Mustapha, D.L. Majid, Z. Leman, A.H.M. Ariff, M.K.A. Ariffin, M.Y.M. Zuhri, M.R. Ishak and J. Sahari
F. Zandi et al., "Effect of Nanoclay on the Physical-Mechanical and Thermal Properties and Microstructure of Extruded Noncross-Linked LDPE Nanocomposite Foams", Key Engineering Materials, Vols. 471-472, pp. 751-756, 2011