Stabilizing contact angle hysteresis of paraffin wax surfaces with nanoclay

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The addition of montmorillonite clay modified with an alkylammonium salt surfactant (i.e., organoclay) to paraffin wax is found to reduce the decay in wetting properties associated with its heating in the melt. It was previously shown that holding wax in its molten form prior to characterization reduces crystallinity when the solid forms. This results in the development of microscale amorphous regions at wax surfaces, which appear to be more polar given the abundance of methylene linkages versus methyl groups. These regions are believed to impact the receding angles for more polar liquids almost exclusively. It is known that the introduction and exfoliation of a small amount of the organoclay greatly enhances the stiffness, strength, and toughness of paraffin wax. Here, it is shown that the organoclay also promotes the formation of coatings possessing fewer thermal cracks and helps maintain higher crystallinity levels. Fresh wax surfaces containing the clay are slightly rougher than those without, which produces a slight increase in hysteresis. However, the significant drops in receding angles found for paraffin wax samples cast from the melt subsequent to heating are absent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-389
Number of pages7
JournalColloid and Polymer Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Mr. Andrew Sipple of Boston Scientific Corporation for his generous assistance in collecting optical profilometry data. This work was supported, in part, by the Minnesota Agricultural Experimental Station, project no. 1543-384-3650.


  • Contact angle
  • Hysteresis
  • Nanoclay


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