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Polymers 2017, 9(2), 41; doi:10.3390/polym9020041

Effects of Fumed Silica and Draw Ratio on Nanocomposite Polypropylene Fibers

1
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Trento, via Sommarive 9, 38123 Trento, Italy
2
National Interuniversity Consortium for Science and Technology of Materials (INSTM), Via G. Giusti 9, 50121 Firenze, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Mohamed Khayet
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 18 January 2017 / Accepted: 20 January 2017 / Published: 28 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Fibers)
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Abstract

Hydrophylic fumed silica AR974 was tested as a potential nanofiller for the production of composite isotactic polypropylene filaments/fibers (containing 0.25–2 vol % of nanoparticles) via melt compounding and subsequent hot drawing. The objectives of this study were as follows: (i) to investigate the effects of the composition and the processing conditions on the microstructure and the thermal and mechanical properties of the produced fibers; (ii) to separate the effects of silica addition from those produced by fiber drawing; and (iii) to interpret the changes in the matrix molecular mobility (produced by silica and/or drawing). Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) evidenced a good dispersion of nanoparticles at fractions up to 0.5 vol % of the nanofiller. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analyses revealed the increase in crystallinity after drawing of both neat polypropylene (PP) and produced nanocomposite fibers. Consequently, tensile modulus and stress at break of the fibers were enhanced. Drawn fibers containing 0.25–0.5 vol % of nanofiller showed also a remarkable increase in the creep resistance. Loss modulus of drawn fibers showed a pronounced α-relaxation peak at about 65 °C; the higher the draw ratio, the higher the peak intensity. Thermal and mechanical properties of composite fibers were improved due to the combined effects of nanofiller reinforcement and fiber orientation produced during hot drawing. Both fumed silica and draw ratio were significantly effective on tensile modulus and tenacity of nanocomposite fibers up to 0.5 vol % of AR974. View Full-Text
Keywords: fumed silica; fibers; drawing; polypropylene; XRD; nanocomposites; draw ratio; factorial experimental design; Pareto chart fumed silica; fibers; drawing; polypropylene; XRD; nanocomposites; draw ratio; factorial experimental design; Pareto chart
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Fambri, L.; Dabrowska, I.; Ceccato, R.; Pegoretti, A. Effects of Fumed Silica and Draw Ratio on Nanocomposite Polypropylene Fibers. Polymers 2017, 9, 41.

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