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Polymers 2017, 9(6), 235;

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
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
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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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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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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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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