Preparation of polymer-clay nanocomposites via dispersion polymerization using tailor-made polymeric surface modifiers

Nagi, Greesh (2011-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Fully exfoliated polystyrene-clay nanocomposites were prepared via free radical polymerization in dispersion polymerization, in a mixture of ethanol and water. Sodium montomorillonite clay (MMT) was pre-modified using 3-(trimethoxysilyl) propyl methacrylate (MPTMS) before being used in a dispersion polymerization process. The particles obtained were not completely stable and TEM images showed that most of the clay platelets were distributed in the dispersing phase. A second objective included, the preparation of low molecular weight of polystyrene (PS) and amphiphilic block copolymers of poly(styrene-b-2-hydroxyethyl acrylate) (PS-b-PHEA)using reverse iodine transfer polymerization (RITP) living/controlled free radical polymerization.The reaction kinetic profile of the RITP process for styrene and 2-Hydroxyethyl acrylate (HEA) was also studied. The formation of the block copolymer PS-b-PHEA was confirmed by GPC and gradient HPLC. The resulting PS-I and (PS-b-PHEA)-I were chemically modified by dimethylethylamine and triethylamine respectively, ended with PS and PS-b-PHEA has quaternary ammonium end-chain functionality (PS-cationic and (PS-b-PHEA)-cationic). The obtained functional polymers (PS-cationic) and (PS-b-PHEA)-cationic) were then grafted onto MMT via a simple ion-exchange process to offer MMT with polymer chains on the surface (PS-MMT) and (PS-b-PHEA)-MMT). Furthermore, the ability of the interaction ofPS-b-PHEA with MMT by adsorption via several functional groups was also investigated. The third objectiveincluded the use of this new class of pre-modified clay PS-MMT in the preparation of PCNs as stabilizers, the clay particles were encapsulated into PS latexes with a partially exfoliated structure at 100% CEC, upon stoppage of the polymerization process, and the final dispersion found to be stable for up to 5 wt% of clay filler loading. The thermal and thermo-mechanical properties of PS-nanocomposites were found to be dependent on both nanocomposites morphology, and clay loading. (PS-b-PHEA)-MMT was also used as stabilizers in the preparation of PS via dispersion polymerization. PS colloidal particles obtained were found to be armoured by (PS-b-PHEA)-MMT layers, with particles sizes in the micro-size range, with fair stability were obtained for clay loadings up to 5%. Analysis of the structure and thermo-mechanical properties of the resulting PCNs revealed the efficiency of the clay surface pre-modification in stabilizing the system throughout the heterophasic polymerization process.The melt flow properties of final PCNs were found to be strongly dependent on the clay loading, with shift observed from liquid-like viscoelastic to solid-like viscoelastic behaviour as the clay content increased due to percolation of the clay network within the PS matrix taking place upon film formation above Tg.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die eerste doelwit was die voorbereiding van ten volle geëksfolieerde polistireen-klei nanosamestellings deur vrye radikaal polimerisasie in dispersie-polimerisasie, in 'n mengsel van etanol en water. Natrium montmorilloniet klei (MMT) is gemodifiseer deur gebruik te maak van 3-(trimetoksiesiliel) propiel metakrilaat (MPTMS), voordat dit gebruik is in die dispersie-polimerisasie. Die bekomde partikels was nie heeltemal stabiel nie. Transmissie elektronmikroskopie (TEM) resultate het getoon dat die meeste van die klei plaatjies in die dispersie-fase versprei is. Die tweede doelwit was die voorbereiding van polistireen (PS) met 'n lae molekulêre massa, gevolg deur die vorming van amfifiliese blok kopolimere van poli(stireen-b-2-hidroksie-etiel akrilaat) (PS-b-PHEA) met behulp van omgekeerde jodium oordrag polimerisasie (RITP) lewendige/gekontroleerde vrye radikaal polimerisasie. Die reaksie kinetiese profiel van die RITP proses was bestudeer met betrekking tot stireen en 2-hidroksie-etiel akrilaat (HEA). Die vorming van die blok kopolimeer PS-b-PHEA is bevestig deur GPC en gradiënt HPLC. Die gevolglike PS-I en (PS-b-PHEA)-I was chemies gewysig deur onderskeidelik dimetieletielamien en trietielamien, waardeur PS en PS-b-PHEA een kwaternêre ammonium ketting-endfunksionaliteit bekom het (PS-kationies en (PS-b- PHEA)-kationies). Laasgenoemde twee funksionele polimere was toe gekoppel aan MMT deur 'n eenvoudige ioon-ruilingsproses wat MMT met polimeerkettings op die oppervlak (PS-MMT) en (PS-b-PHEA)-MMT) tot gevolg het. Die interaksie van PS-b-PHEA met MMT deur middel van adsorpsie van verskeie funksionele groepe is ook ondersoek. Die derde doel was gerig op die gebruik van hierdie nuwe klas gemodifiseerde klei PS-MMT as stabiliseerders vir die voorbereiding van polimeer-klei-nanosamestellings (PCNs). Die 100% CEC gemodifiseerde klei deeltjies is ge-inkapsuleer in die PS emulsies met 'n gedeeltelik geëksfolieërde struktuur, na afloop van die polimerisasie proses. Die finale dispersie was stabiel tot en met 'n klei inhoud van 5 wt%. Daar is gevind dat die termiese en termo-meganiese eienskappevan die PS-nanosamestellings afhanklik is van beide die morfologie en die klei inhoud. (PS-b-PHEA)-MMT was ook gebruik as stabiliseerder in die voorbereiding van PS deur dispersie polimerisasie. Daar is gevind dat die PS kolloïdale partikels wat verkry is, versterk was deur (PS-b-PHEA)-MMT lae. Partikel groottes was in die mikro-grootte gebied, en voldoende stabiliteit is verkry vir 'n klei inhoud van tot 5%. Analise van die struktuur en die termo-meganiese eienskappe van die bekomde PCNs het getoon dat die vooraf modifisering van die klei oppervlak doeltreffend was in die stabilisering van die sisteem gedurende die heterofase polimerisasie proses. Daar is ook gevind dat die smelt vloei eienskappe van die finale PCNs sterk afhang van die klei inhoud; 'n verskuiwing vanaf vloeistof-agtige viskoelastiese tot vaste-agtige viskoelastiese gedrag is waargeneem soos die klei-inhoud verhoog. Hierdie verskynsel was te danke aan perkolasie van die klei netwerk binne die PS matriks wat plaasvind tydens film vorming by 'n hoër temperatuur as die glasoorgangstemperatuur (Tg).

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