Polymer Engineering Faculty Research


Morphological study on room-temperature-cured PMMA-grafted natural rubber-toughened epoxy/layered silicate nanocomposite

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2012


A morphological study was conducted on ternary systems containing epoxy, PMMA-grafted natural rubber, and organic chemically modified montmorillonite (Cloisite 30B). Optical microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray (EDX), and wide-angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD) analysis were used. The following four materials were prepared at room temperature: cured unmodified epoxy, cured toughened epoxy, cured unmodified epoxy/Cloisite 30B nanocomposites, and cured toughened epoxy/Cloisite 30B nanocomposites. Mixing process was performed by mechanical stirring. Poly(etheramine) was used as the curing agent. The detailed TEM images revealed co-continuous and dispersed spherical rubber in the epoxy-rubber blend, suggesting a new proposed mechanism of phase separation. High-magnification TEM analysis showed good interactions between rubber and Cloisite 30B in the ternary system. Also, it was found that rubber particles could enhance the separation of silicates layers. Both XRD and TEM analyses confirmed that the intercalation of Cloisite 30B was achieved. No distinct exfoliated silicates were observed by TEM. Aggregates of layered silicates (tactoids) were observed by SEM and EDX, in addition to TEM at low magnification. EDX analysis confirmed the presence of organic and inorganic elements in the binary and ternary epoxy systems containing Cloisite 30B.