Enhancements of clay exfoliation in polymer nanocomposites using a chemical blowing agent

Oana M. Istrate, Biqiong Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


A novel approach, via the use of a blowing agent (BA), to enhance clay exfoliation in polymer nanocomposites is reported. A commercial organoclay was treated with a common low-cost BA, which was then melt-processed with polymers in an extruder. The characterization results revealed that the degrees of exfoliation of the clay were increased when using BA. Consequently, the resultant nanocomposites exhibited improvements in thermal degradation temperature as compared to their corresponding polymers and nanocomposites without the involvement of BA. They also presented simultaneous improvements in stiffness, strength, ductility and toughness. These property enhancements were mainly attributed to the presence of BA in clay interlayers which degraded during melt compounding, generated gases and pushed clay layers apart, facilitating clay exfoliation under the shear forces. This work demonstrates the potential of using a BA to produce high-performance polymer/clay nanocomposites by melt processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2008-2016
Number of pages9
JournalPolymer International
Issue number12
Early online date30 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • Clay treatment
  • Exfoliation
  • Mechanical properties
  • Morphology
  • Nanocomposites
  • Thermal properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics


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