Abstract

High-density polyethylene (HDPE)–clay nanocomposites have been prepared using the melt intercalation technique. Organically modified montmorillonite at various loadings (0.5–7%) was used as a nanoadditive. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) was utilized for the first time to monitor the stress-induced crystal-to-crystal transformations of the polyethylene matrix with respect to the clay loading as well as to the degree of mechanical strain. In addition, polarized infrared measurements revealed information on both the orientation and the stress-induced distortion of the crystals. It was concluded that the crystal-to-crystal transformations are hindered by the presence of the clay, which also prevented the crystals from orienting even at low clay loadings (1%). Finally, X-ray diffraction (XRD) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) measurements confirmed the presence of the stress-induced crystalline structures in agreement with the infrared measurements.

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