Polymer Degradation and Stability
Polystyrene/layered double hydroxides (PS/LDHs) nanocomposites were prepared by free radical polymerization of styrene monomer in the presence of LDHs intercalated with 4,4′-azobis(4-cyanopentanoate) anions (LDH–ACPA). XRD and ATR-IR are used to confirm that the materials produced are layered and the presence of the azo-initiator anions in these LDHs. These LDHs were used successfully to polymerize styrene and both XRD and TEM images of the composites support the formation of a mixed exfoliated-intercalated nanocomposite for ZnAl–ACPA but a microcomposite for MgAl–ACPA. The magnesium-containing LDHs decreased the glass transition temperature (Tg) of the composites while ZnAl–ACPA did not affect Tg significantly. The Tg depression is related to enhanced polymer dynamics due to the extra free volume at the LDH additive-polymer interface. A reduction in the onset of thermal decomposition temperature was observed in PS/LDH compared to neat PS, likely due to the early decomposition of the LDH. The fire performance, as evaluated by the cone calorimeter, reveal that PS–ZnAl–ACPA shows enhanced fire properties compared to PS–MgAl–ACPA.
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