Authors: Y. Zhang, J.R.G. Evans
Affilation: University College London, United Kingdom
Pages: 116 - 119
Keywords: clay, layered double hydroxide, graphene, nylon, polyvinyl alcohol, layered nanocomposite
Clay-polymer nanocomposites have emerged as a new class of material in recent years because a low addition of clay (<5 wt.%) in a polymer matrix causes significant improvement in material properties. They represent the low volume fraction end of the clay-polymer composition range. Naturally occurring materials, such as nacre, show that a combination of a high platelet content in a polymer with a layered structure is strong and tough, even if the reinforcement, aragonite in that case, is inherently brittle. This achievement of nature has inspired the synthesis of materials to mimic the nacre structure using high aspect ratio reinforcements of high elastic modulus such as smectite clay tactoids. Preliminary successes were based on layer-by-layer assembly methods and a more rapid mass-production pathway has also been found out to produce sufficient order. Furthermore, we assembled a range of platelet-like particles such as clay, layered double hydroxide and graphene and explored layered nanocomposites with polymers and report preliminary property measurements. We judge that these approaches will lead to a new generation of high stiffness to weight ratio materials based on biomimetic structures.