Preparation of Polystyrene Nanocomposite by In Situ Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization: Study of Polymerization Kinetics in the Presence of Clay
Styrene nanocomposites were synthesized by in-situ atom transfer radical polymerization at 110oC. The variations of monomer conversion and the linearity of semilogarithmic kinetic plot, some signs of living polymerization and constant radical concentration in the reaction medium, were revealed by gas chromatography technique (GC). According to the gel permeation chromatography (GPC) results, the number average molecular weight increased linearly against the monomer conversion indicating the living nature of the polymerization. Weight average molecular weight and polydispersity of nanocomposites were also derived from GPC data. In addition, the PDI value was wider for polymers extracted from nanocomposite samples, and still widened as the clay content increased. Moreover, all the samples experienced a fall in PDI value from nearly 2 to almost 1.1 as the reaction progressed. FTIR results are indications of some interactions between clay surface and monomer, which may be attributed to higher rated in polymerization kinetics. XRD displayed no peak in in-situ synthesized nanocomposites indicating an exfoliated structure in the prepared nanocomposites; conversely, a solution blending technique resulted in an intercalated structure. AFM phase images well displayed the dispersion of nanoclay in the polymeric matrix. The delamination of clay platelets in the polymer matrix of in-situ prepared nanocomposite is demonstrated by TEM images; on the other hand, TEM results revealed the intercalated structure of nanocomposites prepared by solution blending technique.