Influence of processing and clay type on nanostructure and stability of polypropylene-clay nanocomposites

Sahar Al-Malaika*, Husam Sheena, D. Fischer, E. Masarati

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Melt processing is a critical step in the manufacture of polymer articles and is even more critical when dealing with inhomogeneous polymer-clay nanocomposites systems. The chemical composition, and in particular the clay type and its organic modification, also plays a major contribution in determining the final properties and in particular the thermal and long-term oxidative stability of the resulting polymer nanocomposites. Proper selection and tuning of the process variable should, in principle, lead to improved characteristics of the fabricated product. With multiphase systems containing inorganic nanoclays, however, this is not straightforward and it is often the case that the process conditions are chosen initially to improve one or more desired properties at the expense of others.

This study assesses the influence of organo-modified clays and the processing parameters (extrusion temperature and screw speed) on the rheological and morphological characteristics of polymer nanocomposites as well as on their melt and thermo-oxidative stability. Nanocomposites (PPNCs) based on PP, maleated PP and organically modified clays were prepared in different co-rotating twin-screw extruders ranging from laboratory scale to semi-industrial scale. Results show that the amount of surfactant present in similar organo-modified clays affects differently the thermo-oxidative stability of the extruded PPNCs and that changes in processing conditions affect the clay morphology too. By choosing an appropriate set of tuned process variables for the extrusion process it would be feasible to selectively fabricate polymer-clay nanocomposites, with the desired mechanical and thermo-oxidative characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2400-2410
Number of pages11
JournalPolymer Degradation and Stability
Issue number12
Early online date24 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • clay-PP nanocomposites (PPNC)
  • PPNC extrusion
  • processing characteristics of PPNC
  • stability of PPNC


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