Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) nanocomposite films containing two different organoclays, Cloisite 30B® (C30B) and Nanomer I.28E® (N28E), were prepared by melt blending. In order to increase the gallery spacing of the clay particles, a sulfopolyester (PET ionomer or PETi) was added to the nanocomposites via a master-batch approach. The morphological, thermal and gas barrier characteristics of the nanocomposite films were studied using several characterization techniques such as scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, differential scanning calorimetry, dynamic mechanical analysis, rheometry and oxygen permeability. PET and PETi were found to form immiscible polymer blends and the nanoparticles were preferentially located in the PETi dispersed phase. A better dispersion of clay was obtained for nanocomposites containing N28E with PETi. On the contrary, for nanocomposites containing C30B and PETi, the number of tactoids increased and the clay distribution and dispersion became worse than for C30B alone. Overall, the best properties were obtained for the PET/C30B nanocomposite without PETi. Higher crystallinity was found for all nanocomposite films in comparison to that of neat PET. Copyright.
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