Composites based on poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) were prepared by melt blending the polymer with natural and modified bentonite. Soy lecithin (SL), a natural and nontoxic biosurfactant, was used as modifier agent. Three organoclays with different SL contents were employed as fillers and composites containing 1 and 2 wt% of each clay, were prepared. Thermal (by thermogravimetric analysis, and differential scanning calorimetry), morphological (by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and melt rheology), mechanical (by tensile tests) and barrier properties (by means of water vapor permeability tests) of matrix and composites were studied as a function of clay type and content. Morphological analysis by XRD showed nanocomposites with intercalated-exfoliated structures while melt rheology suggests thermal degradation of PCL matrix catalyzed by SL bentonite modifier. Thermal and mechanical properties were consistent with this assumption, due to the slight increment in crystallinity percentage and detriment in the Young’s modulus of the nanocomposites in comparison with the neat matrix. On the other hand, water vapor permeability of PCL significantly decreased in composites, as is expected for polymer/clay nanocomposites, favoring its potential application as food packaging. Thus, dissimilar tendencies were found in the final properties of the nanocomposites that were attributed to the matrix molecular weight degradation catalyzed by the novel green clay organo-modifier.
Journal of Polymers and the Environment – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 16, 2017
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