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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 154874, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/154874
Research Article

Polyethylene/Clay Nanocomposites Produced by In Situ Polymerization with Zirconocene/MAO Catalyst

1Center of Excellence on Catalysis and Catalytic Reaction Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
2Chemistry Program, Faculty of Science and Technology, Nakhon Pathom Rajabhat University, Nakhon Pathom 73000, Thailand

Received 14 June 2013; Revised 25 July 2013; Accepted 25 July 2013

Academic Editor: Shanfeng Wang

Copyright © 2013 Pimpatima Panupakorn et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Two commercial nanoclays were used here as catalytic fillers for production of polyethylene (PE) and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) nanocomposites via in situ polymerization with zirconocene/MAO catalyst. It was found that both types of nanoclays designated as clay A and clay B can improve thermal stability to the host polymers as observed from a thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA). The distribution of the clays inside the polymer matrices appeared good due to the in situ polymerization system into which the clays were introduced during the polymer forming reaction. Upon investigating the clays by X-ray diffractometer (XRD) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), it was observed that the crucial differences between the two clays are the crystallite sizes (A < B) and the amounts of amine group (A < B). The higher amount of amine group in clay B was supposed to be a major reason for the lower catalytic activity of the polymerization systems compared to clay A resulting from its deactivating effect on zirconocene catalyst. However, for both clays, increasing their contents in the polymerization systems reduced the catalytic activity due to the higher steric hindrance occurring.