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by Editor1 last modified October 28, 2006 - 11:10

Nanocomposites are a new class of composites that have a dispersed phase with at least one ultrafine dimension, typically a few nanometers. Nanocomposites possess special properties not shared by conventional composites, due primarily to large interfacial area per unit volume or weight of the dispersed phase (e.g., 750 m2/g).

Chapter 17 Polymer-Clay Nanocomposites: Synthesis and Properties
Nano-Surface Chemistry

Clay layers dispersed at the nanoscale in a polymer matrix act as a reinforcing phase to form polymer-clay nanocomposites, an important class of organic-inorganic nanocomposites. These nanocomposites are also referred to as polymer-silicate nanocomposites and organic-inorganic hybrids. Polymer-clay nanocomposites can drastically improve mechanical reinforcement and high-temperature durability, provide enhanced barrier properties, and reduce flammability.

Colloid and surface chemistry play important roles in the synthesis of polymer-clay nanocomposites. Dispersion of clay layers in polymers is hindered by the inherent tendency to form face-to-face stacks in agglomerated tactoids due to high interlayer cohesive energy.

There is a growing interest in the surface chemistry of clays in pursuit of nanocomposite synthesis using specific monomers, prepolymers, and polymer melts.