Additional evidence for the migration of clay upon heating of clay–polypropylene nanocomposites from X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS)
Polymer Degradation and Stability
The explanation for reduction in the peak heat release rate of polymer–clay nanocomposites which is normally accepted is that clay accumulates at the surface, forming a thermal shield which is also a barrier to mass transport. The process by which this clay arrives at the surface has never been described in print but the common assumption is that pyrolysis is required for clay accumulation to occur. In this work, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, a tool much more sensitive in surface analysis than conventional techniques, is used to probe the surface of polypropylene–clay nanocomposites that have been annealed at relatively low temperatures, well below that required for pyrolysis. The composition of the surface changes with time and temperature of annealing, which provide a strong indication that the clay at the surface undergoes chemical change at fairly low temperatures.