The aim of this study was the investigation of the use of modified talcum for supporting crosslinking and as novel nucleating agent for physical foaming of polyethylene. For the modification of the talcum, a thermal initiator was linked to the talcum surface. During the extrusion process, the initiator decomposes, and gas and radicals are formed. The gas generates the nucleation of cells and the radicals support the crosslinking process between the polymer chains. The modification of the talcum was performed in three steps: The first step was the grafting of alkoxysilanes onto the talcum surface. The second step was the chlorination of the thermal initiator for an easier linkage, and the last step was the linking between the initiator and the silanes grafted onto the talcum surface. For this study, two investigations were carried out. One investigation was the analysis of the crosslinking effect with the modified talcum. For this purpose, polyethylene plates were compression molded and the viscoelastic properties were measured with a parallel plate rheometer. The use of the modified talcum led to a higher crosslinking density. The second investigation was the physical foaming experiment in an extrusion process with nitrogen as blowing agent using both a pure and the modified talcum as nucleating agents. The foamed samples were characterized in terms of density, cell size and cell density, and compared with each other. The blend with the modified nucleating agent indicated a foam structure with a smaller mean cell size and a lower density compared to the use of the pristine nucleating agent.
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