Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nano-Dispersion Of Clays Makes Better, Cleaner Plastics

Date:
March 27, 2001
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Small amounts of well-dispersed natural clay can lead to environmentally friendly and inexpensive plastic composites with improved specialized properties, according to a Penn State researcher.

University Park, Pa. -- Small amounts of well-dispersed natural clay can lead to environmentally friendly and inexpensive plastic composites with improved specialized properties, according to a Penn State researcher.

"Adding very small amounts of natural clays to plastics changes some of their physical properties," says Dr. Evangelos Manias, assistant professor of materials science and engineering. "While we can tune the chemical interactions between the clays and some polymers, it is the general changes due to the nanometer fillers in all plastics that may be the most interesting."

Addition of clay can make plastics less permeable to liquids and gases; more flame retardant and tougher. Lower permeability can make plastics like PET, the standard plastic used in soft drink bottling, suitable for bottling beer or wine. The clay-enhanced product would protect the beverages from the effects of oxygen. At the same time, the addition of small amounts of clay does not affect the transparency of plastics.

Adding clay to polymer blends is not a simple process as polymers and clays mix about as well as oil and water. However, if the clay is treated with an organic surfactant, a compound that allows the inert clay to mix with the polymers, much as soap allows oil and water to mix, the clays can be incorporated into the final product.

An inexpensive, more environmentally clean method of producing flame retardant plastics could eventually save lives. Because the addition of clay into plastics reduces flammability in a wide range of plastics, it may have universal application as a general flame retardant additive.

"Currently, chemicals used to make plastics flame retardant contain bromine, which produces poisonous combustion gases when burned," says Manias. "Using clay is a green alternative to current practices and reduces flammability in a wide range of plastics." When polymers with clay incorporated in their structures burn, the clay forms a char layer on the outside of the plastic that insulates the material beneath.

"Natural clays are currently the most used because they are the same clays already used in many products," says Mania. "However, synthetic clays, because of their tailored properties, may prove essential for high added value products, such as in biomedical devices and space applications."

The natural clays Manias refers to are bentonites and montmorillonites that are already in use in paints to prevent dripping, cosmetics to prevent shine and in pharmaceuticals. Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration already approve them for use, there is no problem incorporating them into plastics that come in contact with foods, medicines, beverages or plastics used in biomedical devices.

The polymer clay blends, while containing only 1 to 5 percent clay, are actually nanocomposites. The addition of clay into the polymer blend does not alter the normal production and processing of the clayless polymer.

"The clay can be added at the final stages of polymer processing without any change in the current industrial practices," says Manias. "The thermodynamics drive the nanometer dispersion of the clay through the polymer and the small amounts of clay do not cause any wear in the equipment. Manufacturers can use the same equipment, timing and settings as in their normal process."

While natural and synthetic clays provide a broad possibility of enhances plastics, Manias is also looking at polymer nanocomposites that contain platelets of metal and ceramic nanoparticles instead of clay. These ultra-small fillers require different surfactants and offer much more flexibility in property tailoring, where cost can be slightly increased.

The Penn State researcher has reported on his work in a variety of journals including Advances in Polymer Science, Chemistry of Materials and Macromolecules.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Nano-Dispersion Of Clays Makes Better, Cleaner Plastics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 March 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/03/010327081058.htm>.
Penn State. (2001, March 27). Nano-Dispersion Of Clays Makes Better, Cleaner Plastics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/03/010327081058.htm
Penn State. "Nano-Dispersion Of Clays Makes Better, Cleaner Plastics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/03/010327081058.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) Using proteins derived from mussels, engineers at MIT have made a supersticky underwater adhesive. They're now looking to make "living glue." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Company Copies Keys From Photos

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) A new company allows customers to make copies of keys by simply uploading a couple of photos. But could it also be great for thieves? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hyped-Up Big Bang Discovery Has A Dust Problem

The Hyped-Up Big Bang Discovery Has A Dust Problem

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) An analysis of new satellite data casts serious doubt on a previous study about the Big Bang that was once hailed as revolutionary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) The Rockefellers — heirs to an oil fortune that made the family name a symbol of American wealth — are switching from fossil fuels to clean energy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins