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Polymers 2017, 9(6), 235; doi:10.3390/polym9060235

Morphology Development and Mechanical Properties Variation during Cold-Drawing of Polyethylene-Clay Nanocomposite Fibers

Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Salerno, Via Giovanni Paolo II n. 132, 84084 Fisciano (SA), Italy
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Academic Editors: Francesco Paolo La Mantia and Maria Chiara Mistretta
Received: 17 May 2017 / Revised: 8 June 2017 / Accepted: 15 June 2017 / Published: 20 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
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Abstract

In this work, the influence of composition and cold-drawing on nano- and micro-scale morphology and tensile mechanical properties of PE/organoclay nanocomposite fibers was investigated. Nanocomposites were prepared by melt compounding in a twin-screw extruder, using a maleic anhydride grafted linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE–g–MA) and an organomodified montmorillonite (Dellite 67G) at three different loadings (3, 5 and 10 wt %). Fibers were produced by a single-screw extruder and drawn at five draw ratios (DRs): 7.25, 10, 13.5, 16 and 19. All nanocomposites, characterized by XRD, SEM, TEM, and FT-IR techniques, showed an intercalated/exfoliated morphology. The study evidenced that the nanoclay presence significantly increases both elastic modulus (up to +115% for fibers containing 10 wt % of D67G) and drawability of as-spun nanocomposite fibers. Moreover, at fixed nanocomposite composition, the cold-drawing process increases fibers elastic modulus and tensile strength at increasing DRs. However, at high DRs, “face-to-edge” rearrangement phenomena of clay layers (i.e., clay layers tend to rotate and touch each other) arise in fibers at high nanoclay loadings. Finally, nanocomposite fibers show a lower diameter reduction during drawing, with respect to the plain system, and surface feature of adjustable roughness by controlling the composition and the drawing conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: fibers; nanocomposites; polyethylene (PE); drawing fibers; nanocomposites; polyethylene (PE); drawing
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Coppola, B.; Scarfato, P.; Incarnato, L.; Di Maio, L. Morphology Development and Mechanical Properties Variation during Cold-Drawing of Polyethylene-Clay Nanocomposite Fibers. Polymers 2017, 9, 235.

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