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International Journal of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Abstract

This paper addresses the effects of operating variables on mechanical properties of polyester/clay nanocomposites including tensile strength, percentage elongation etc. The variables were clay type, clay content, and prepolymer–clay mixing type. The experiments were carried out based on the design of experiments using statistical methods. The nanocomposites were synthesized via in situ polymerization of polyester and clay (dissolved using styrene monomer) with Methyl-ethyl ketone peroxide (MEKP) as catalyst in Cobalt base accelerator. Unmodified Kaolinite clay and Vinyl silane modified clay are the two types of clay examined. The parameters studied, clay type and mixing method are found to have significant effects on mechanical properties. Polyester nanocomposites showed larger improvements in mechanical properties compared to pristine polyester, especially when sonicator type of mixing is employed due to the favorable shear forces exerted by polymer matrix on clay aggregates during polymer–clay mixing. It is observed that the stress and elongation at break of the nanocomposite samples can be optimized with a particular percentage of clay loading. Characterizations of the nano composites were also made using techniques like SEM.

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