Biaxial deformation behavior and mechanical properties of a polypropylene/clay nanocomposite

Rund Abu-Zurayk, Eileen Harkin-Jones, Tony McNally, Gary Menary, Peter Martin, Cecil Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Polymer nanocomposites offer the potential of enhanced properties such as increased modulus and barrier properties to the end user. Much work has been carried out on the effects of extrusion conditions on melt processed nanocomposites but very little research has been conducted on the use of polymer nanocomposites in semi-solid forming processes such as thermoforming and injection blow molding. These processes are used to make much of today's packaging, and any improvements in performance such as possible lightweighting due to increased modulus would bring significant benefits both economically and environmentally. The work described here looks at the biaxial deformation of polypropylene-clay nanocomposites under industrial forming conditions in order to determine if the presence of clay affects processability, structure and mechanical properties of the stretched material. Melt compounded polypropylene/clay composites in sheet form were biaxially stretched at a variety of processing conditions to examine the effect of high temperature, high strain and high strain rate processing on sheet structure and properties. A biaxial test rig was used to carry out the testing which imposed conditions on the sheet that are representative of those applied in injection blow molding and thermoforming. Results show that the presence of clay increases the yield stress relative to the unfilled material at typical processing temperatures and that the sensitivity of the yield stress to temperature is greater for the filled material. The stretching process is found to have a significant effect on the delamination and alignment of clay particles (as observed by TEM) and on yield stress and elongation at break of the stretched sheet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1644-1652
Number of pages9
JournalComposites Science and Technology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Aug 2009


  • B. Delamination
  • B. Stress-strain curve
  • D. DSC
  • D. TEM
  • D. XRD


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