Polymer Engineering Faculty Research


Structural hierarchy developed in injection molding of nylon 6/clay/carbon black nanocomposites

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The influence of platelet-type clay nanoparticle (nanoplatelet) on the structural evolution in injection-molded nylon 6)/carbon composites was investigated. In the absence of nanoplatelets, the nylon 6/CB systems were found to exhibit unoriented structure with nylon 6 crystalline regions exhibiting exclusively α crystal form throughout the thickness of the samples. However, inclusion of nanoplatelets induces substantial local orientation of the nylon 6 chains in the molded parts in all processing conditions and compositions. In these clay/nylon 6/CB ternary nano systems, nylon 6 matrix was found to be exclusively in γ crystal form at the skin regions and α crystal form fraction increases towards the core of the molded parts as a result of decrease in cooling rate with depth during the solidification stage. Two nanoplatelet orientation behaviors were identified: (i) in the absence of irregular shaped CB, the nanoplatelets align parallel with one another following the local flow patterns. The latter behavior also causes enhanced orientation of the nylon 6 chains undergoing substantial shear amplification trapped in between the nanoplatelets (ii) in the CB-enriched regions, nanoplatelets though still remaining parallel to one another, are randomized by following the local contours of irregular shaped CB aggregates. These CB aggregates themselves were found to organize to form trains in larger scale as a result of flow alignment.

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