Impact and tensile energies of fracture in polymer-clay nanocomposites

Biqiong Chen, J. R G Evans*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Impact strength and tensile energy absorption of polymer-clay nanocomposites were measured using polymers that are glassy or rubbery at ambient temperatures. The results highlight the apparent contradictions that arise in these tests. Polystyrene, with initially low toughness, suffered a decrease in impact strength of 3% (notched) and 23% (un-notched) but the tensile energy at break increased by 120%. ABS suffered a catastrophic collapse of toughness in all three tests of up to 90%. A suggestion is that the arrangement of comparatively rigid mineral tactoids inhibits the toughening function of the rubbery zones. The use of poly(ε-caprolactone) showed that processing-induced degradation of surfactant did not significantly impair toughness. There is an emerging view that clay reinforcement is more effective with polymers above Tg but these results suggest that the interpretation of impact strength, a property highly rated by industrial users, is less easily explained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5113-5118
Number of pages6
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Energy absorption
  • Nanocomposites
  • Toughness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics


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