Near Infrared Investigation of Polypropylene-Clay Nanocomposites for Further Quality Control Purposes-Opportunities and Limitations
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KeywordsNIR spectroscopy; Quality control; Polypropylene nanocomposites
Permissions© 2015 The Authors. This article is an Open Access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons CC-BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Polymer nanocomposites are usually characterized using various methods, such as small angle X-ray diffraction (XRD) or transmission electron microscopy, to gain insights into the morphology of the material. The disadvantages of these common characterization methods are that they are expensive and time consuming in terms of sample preparation and testing. In this work, near infrared spectroscopy (NIR) spectroscopy is used to characterize nanocomposites produced using a unique twin-screw mini-mixer, which is able to replicate, at ~25 g scale, the same mixing quality as in larger scale twin screw extruders. We correlated the results of X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, G′ and G″ from rotational rheology, Young’s modulus, and tensile strength with those of NIR spectroscopy. Our work has demonstrated that NIR-technology is suitable for quantitative characterization of such properties. Furthermore, the results are very promising regarding the fact that the NIR probe can be installed in a nanocomposite-processing twin screw extruder to measure inline and in real time, and could be used to help optimize the compounding process for increased quality, consistency, and enhanced product properties