Polypropylene (PP) has poor oxygen barrier properties, therefore it is manufactured in a multi-layer structure with other plastics and metals, and has been widely used as a packaging material in various industries from food and beverage to pharmaceuticals. However, multi-layered packaging materials are generally low in recyclability and cause serious environmental pollution, therefore we have faced the challenge of improving the oxygen barrier performance as a uni-material. In this work, PP/nanoclay nanocomposites were prepared at nanoclay contents ranging from 0.8 to 6.4 wt% by the biaxial stretching method, performed through a sequential stretching method. It was observed that, as the draw ratio increased, the behavior of the agglomerates of the nanoclay located in the PP matrix changed and the nanoclay was dispersed along the second stretching direction. Oxygen barrier properties of PP/nanoclay nanocomposites are clearly improved due to this dispersion effect. As the biaxial stretching ratio and the content of nanoclay increased, the oxygen permeability value of the PP/nanoclay nanocomposite decreased to 43.5 cc·mm/m2·day·atm, which was reduced by about 64% compared to PP. Moreover, even when the relative humidity was increased from 0% to 90%, the oxygen permeability values remained almost the same without quality deterioration. Besides these properties, we also found that the mechanical and thermal properties were also improved. The biaxially-stretched PP/nanoclay nanocomposite fabricated in this study is a potential candidate for the replacement of the multi-layered packaging material used in the packaging fields.
- Biaxial stretching
- Polymer-matrix composites (PMCs)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Polymers and Plastics