Intercalation and in situ polymerization of poly(alkylene oxide) derivatives within M+-montmorillonite (M = Li, Na, K)

H. Chris Greenwell, Allen A. Bowden, Biqiong Chen, Pascal Boulet, Julian R.G. Evans, Peter V. Coveney*, Andrew Whiting

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


We have synthesized a range of montmorillonite-based clay-polymer nanocomposites by intercalation of a variety of functionalized molecules having poly(ethylene oxide) and poly(propylene oxide) backbones from aqueous solution using a facile batch process. We focus on montmorillonite clays charge-balanced by cation exchange with Li+ and K+, but otherwise unmodified. Analysis by X-ray diffraction and thermal methods showed that intercalation occurred in all cases and that the composites displayed a range of interlayer spacings and organic content, from monolayer arrangements to pseudo-trilayer arrangements. Intercalated K+-montmorillonites had a propensity to exfoliate, in marked contrast to their resistance to swelling by water. Large-scale molecular dynamics simulations of selected composites were used to elucidate possible interlayer arrangements of the composites. Materials property studies showed that these clay-polymer composites had significantly increased Young's moduli compared to the unfilled polymer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1082-1094
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Chemistry


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