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Role of interfacial chemistry on the rheology and thermo-mechanical properties of clay-polymer nanocomposites for building applications

Hieu-Thao Huynh, Karim Benzarti, and Myriam Duc

IFSTTAR, Université Paris-Est, 58 Bld. Lefebvre, F-75732 Paris, France



Abstract: This study is directed towards investigating the role of the surface treatment of clay particles on the rheological and thermomechanical behaviour of clay-epoxy blends. Nanocomposites were prepared by mixing small amounts (5–10 mass %) of commercial organoclays or raw clays with an epoxy system commonly used in civil engineering. Rheological characterisations in the liquid state revealed a pronounced thixotropic character of the organoclay-based systems, which all exhibited a shear-thinning behaviour above a critical stress threshold (yield stress), depending on both the intensity of interfacial interactions and the degree of filler dispersion. On the other hand, systems based on raw clay particles behaved like Newtonian fluids, in the same way as the unreinforced polymer matrix. Complementary dynamic mechanical analyses (DMA) performed on the cured cross-linked nanocomposites also showed significant changes in the viscoelastic behaviour of the epoxy matrix due to the introduction of organoclays, whereas only minor variations were observed following the introduction of raw fillers. These results were consistent with nanoscale morphological characterisations performed by conventional X-ray diffraction (XRD) on the various hybrid systems. In this context, rheology and DMA appear as attractive alternative methods for assessing the filler dispersion at a macroscopic (and possibly more relevant) scale. This research is of practical interest for civil engineers, since clay reinforced-epoxies could in the future be used as coating materials with enhanced barrier performances, in order to protect infrastructures against environmental ageing or corrosion.

Keywords: coatings – nanocomposites – organoclays – epoxy – rheology – DMA – particle dispersion – exfoliation – XRD

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-011-0118-y


Chemical Papers 66 (5) 519–531 (2012)

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