Material properties of nanoclay PVC composites
Nanocomposites of poly(vinyl chloride) have been prepared using both hectorite- and bentonite-based organically-modified clays. The organic modification used is tallow-triethanol-ammonium ion. The morphology of the systems was investigated using X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy and these systems show that true nanocomposites, both intercalated and exfoliated systems, are produced. The mechanical properties have been evaluated and the modulus increases upon nanocomposite formation without a significant decrease in tensile strength or elongation at break. Thermal analysis studies using thermogravimetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, and dynamic mechanical analysis were conducted. Thermal stability of the PVC systems was assessed using a standard thermal process evaluating the evolution of hydrogen chloride and by color development through the yellowness index. Cone calorimetry was used to measure the fire properties and especially to evaluate smoke evolution. The addition of an appropriately-modified bentonite or hectorite nanoclay leads to both a reduction in the total smoke that is evolved, and an increase in the length of time over which smoke is evolved. Along with this, a reduction in the peak heat release rate is seen. It is likely that the presence of the clay in some way interferes with the cyclization of the conjugated system formed upon HCl loss.