Polymer Engineering & Science
Crown ether-modified clays were obtained by the combination of sodium and potassium clays with crown ethers and cryptands. Polystyrene nanocomposites were prepared by bulk polymerization in the presence of these clays. The structures of nanocomposites were characterized by X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy. Their thermal stability and flame retardancy were measured by thermogravimetric analysis and cone calorimetry, respectively. Nanocomposites can be formed only from the potassium clays; apparently the sodium clays are not sufficiently organophilic to enable nanocomposite formation. The onset temperature of the degradation is higher for the nanocomposites compared to virgin polystyrene, and the peak heat release rate is decreased by 25% to 30%.