Date of Award

Summer 2005

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Marino Xanthos

Second Advisor

Roman Dubrovsky

Third Advisor

Zafar Iqbal

Abstract

Polymer nanocomposites were produced by solution mixing of a commercial flexible acrylic polymer paint, with nanofillers of different size, shape, aspect ratio and purity such as hydrotalcite (HT), sodium montmorillonite (MMT), single wall carbon nanotubes (SWNT) and fullerenes (FUL), at 5 and 10 wt% loading. Structural characteristics and mechanical, thermal and barrier properties of the nanocomposites were characterized by different techniques and compared to those of the unfilled polymer.

The presence of partially exfoliated and intercalated nanoplatelets in the polymer resulted in increased 2% secant tensile modulus, and decreased tensile strength and elongation at break, to different extents. While the presence of SWNT improved the mechanical properties of the polymer, the presence of FUL hampered the mechanical properties. Storage modulus of the polymer was also improved in the presence of 10 wt% MMT and SWNT. While moderate changes in the Tg were observed in the presence of fillers the thermal stability of the polymer was not improved by their presence. The presence of all impermeable filler particles in the polymer improves its water vapor baffler property. Significant differences in the properties of different composites when compared to those of the unfilled polymer are attributed to the variations in microstructure and properties, which greatly depend on the aspect ratio, surface area, inherent properties, orientation and extent of interactions of the nanofillers with the acrylic polymer.

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