A careful insight into melt compounding procedure is proposed in order to achieve a better understanding and control of the dispersion and orientation mechanisms of organo-clay platelets into LDPE nanocomposites. The method involved is the preparation of a maleic anhydride grafted polyethylene master-batch containing 10 wt% organo-clay via twin-screw extrusion. A substantial nano-dispersion and orientation of clay platelets was obtained as observed by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analyses. Moreover, the nanocomposites prepared by diluting the master-batch through the blend mixing with additional LDPE preserved or improved the exfoliation and lamellae orientation. Finally, the thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA) showed a significant improvement of the thermal stability while both differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and XRD evidenced a slight increase of the LDPE crystallinity degree with respect to neat polymer matrices thus suggesting the occurrence of orientation also for the polymer.
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