In this research was prepared and evaluated a novel laminate in which a traditional Glass Fibre (GF) Mat reinforcement was used to improve the physical and mechanical behaviour of a Polypropylene (PP) nanocomposite (NCP), based upon organophilic layered silicates (NC) and Maleic Anhydride grafted PP (PPgMA) as compatibilizer.
The objectives of this investigation were:
- to provide a general concept for manufacturing first polymer nanocomposites by direct intercalation during conventional twin screw extrusion-compounding process, and then nanocomposite laminates by pressure moulding;
- to qualitatively and quantitatively estimate both the assessed level of particles dispersion and the influence of nano-fillers and of glass reinforcement on the material mechanical behaviour.
The PP based nanocomposite was analysed by burn off test, differential scanning calorimetry and X ray diffraction. Significant micrographs were taken by optical, scanning electron and focused ion beam microscopy both on nanocomposite samples and on laminates. The NCP mechanical behaviour was evaluated by dynamic mechanical thermal analysis and tensile testing. The latter was used to estimate the mechanical properties of the final laminate as well.
The final material can be considered three times ‘hybrid’: halfway organic and inorganic, halfway conventional composite and exfoliated, halfway laminated and nanocomposite material.
However, to avoid misunderstanding, it is worth to note that, in this work, as ‘hybrid’ is intended the laminate matrix (i.e. PP-NC-PPgMA composite), like in the greatest part of the literature on this topic.