Investigation of the toughness of polymer/clay nanocomposites for plastics recycling

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Resource or Project Abstract

Polymer/clay nanocomposites are a relatively new class of materials with unique properties which are promising for applications in aeronautic, automotive, construction and healthcare fields, etc. The overall aim of this project was to further understand the impact of clay addition on polymers and polymer blends, which are often found in the recycled stock, and to investigate, with respect to the structure of clay, the thermal and mechanical properties of polymer/clay nanocomposites, with the emphasis placed on toughness. First, low-density and high-density nanocomposite cellular solids were synthesized, and their structure-property relationships were established. Next, high density polyethylene/clay micro and nano composites were prepared without or with the presence of an organic compatibiliser, and their thermal and mechanical properties were investigated. Then, polystyrene/clay composites were prepared using an organoclay pre-treated with different types of surfactants, and their structure and properties were studied. In order to facilitate exfoliation of clay in polymer matrices, a commercial organoclay was treated using a novel method. It was found that the treated organoclay improved the clay exfoliation in different polymer matrices. To help understand how polymer crystallinity and clay dispersion affect the final mechanical properties, nylon 6/clay nanocomposites with varying clay exfoliation degrees were melt-compounded and investigated in detail. Using the same materials, the toughness of the nanocomposites was studied via different testing methods and the fracture mechanisms were discussed intensively. The nanostructure for obtaining the optimum properties was also established. The effects of clay on pristine polystyrene/polypropylene blends with or without an organic compatibiliser were studied and the structure-property relationships for the polymer blends were developed. The effects of clay on recycled polystyrene and recycled polyethylene in the presence or absence of an organic compatibiliser were also investigated.
In conclusion, the addition of clay, upon appropriate treatments, to polymers and polymer blends can be beneficial for plastics recycling and beyond.

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr. Biqiong Chen
University of Sheffield

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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL https://eparesearch.epa.ie/safer/iso19115/display?isoID=276
Resource KeywordsPlastic reycling, nanocomposite, clay, toughness
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2008-PHD-WRM-4
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeWaste and Resource Management
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Public-Open
Limitations on the use of this ResourceAny attached datasets, data files, or information objects can be downloaded for further use in scientific applications under the condition that the source is properly quoted and cited in published papers, journals, websites, presentations, books, etc. Before downloading, users must agree to the "Conditions of Download and Access" from SAFER-Data. These appear before download. Users of the data should also communicate with the original authors/owners of this resource if they are uncertain about any aspect of the data or information provided before further usage.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 0
Project Start Date Wednesday 1st October 2008 (01-10-2008)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Friday 20th February 2009 (20-02-2009)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Sunday 11th September 2011 (11-09-2011)
Published on SAFERTuesday 17th July 2012 (17-07-2012)
Date of Last EditTuesday 17th July 2012 at 13:25:18 (17-07-2012)
Datasets or Files Updated On Tuesday 17th July 2012 at 13:23:37 (17-07-2012)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
COMPLETELY LAB-BASED Project:

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
The plastics industry in Ireland spans a wide range of sectors such as medical devices, electronics and packaging. Growth of plastics production and usage leads to the increasing amount of plastics wastes. Due to its distinct structure and properties, clay has potential in enhancing the properties of recycled plastics and thus facilitating plastics recycling. This project was set up to investigate such potential with the focus placed on toughness.
Supplementary Information
EQUIPMENT: XRD (Phillips PW1720 X-ray Diffraction), DSC (Perkin Elmer Diamond DSC), TGA (Perkin Elmer Pyrus 1 TGA), a universal mechanical tester (INSTRON 1011, INSTRON 8501 or Zwick Z005) and a Charpy impact tester (JinJian XJJD-5)

Journal publications with the PhD student as the first author:
Soft Matter, 2011, 7, 1840-1848;
Journal of Polymer Science Part B Polymer Physics, 2012, 50, 431-441; Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 2012, 125, E102-E112. A number of other journal papers are either submitted or in preparation.

Softwares used: LabView, ImageJ, Minitab, AutoCad, EndNote, PDF viewer, PDF Creator, etc.
Links To Other Related Resources
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