Mechanical and oxygen barrier properties of organoclay-polyethylene nanocomposite films

Yang Zhong, Dustin Janes, Yong Zheng, Max Hetzer, Daniel De Kee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations


An organically modified montmorillonite was compounded with ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer (EVA), low density polyethylene (LDPE), and high density polyethylene (HDPE) in a twin-screw extruder. The resulting organoclay- polyethylene nanocomposites were then blown into films. Tensile properties and oxygen permeability of these nanocomposite films were investigated to understand the effects of organoclay on different types of polyethylene. It was found that the clay enhancing effects are function of the matrix. The mechanical and oxygen barrier properties of clay/EVA systems increased with clay loading. Both the tensile modulus and oxygen barrier of EVA doubled at 5 wt% clay. Maleic anhydride grafted polyethylene (MAPE) usually is used as a compatibilizer for LDPE and HDPE-based nanocomposites. However, the MAPEs were found to weaken the oxygen barrier of the PEs, especially for HDPE. This is believed to be a result of less compactness caused by the large side groups and the increase in polarity of the MAPEs. Incorporating 5 wt% clay improves the oxygen barrier by 30% and the tensile modulus by 37% for the LDPE/MAPE system. Incorporation of clay does not enhance the properties of the HDPE-based systems, likely due to large domain structure and poor bonding. Halpin-Tsai equation and the tortuous path equation were used to model the tensile modulus and oxygen permeability of the clay/EVA nanocomposite films.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1101-1107
Number of pages7
JournalPolymer Engineering and Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


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