The field of polymer-clay nanocomposites has attracted considerable attention as a method of enhancing polymer properties and extending their utility. Layered silicates dispersed as a reinforcing phase in a polymer matrix are one of the most important forms of such inorganic-organic nanocomposites, making them the subject of intense research. We have recently prepared several thermoset-based nanocomposites with improved thermal and mechanical properties. This paper is primarily focused in studying the effects of nano clay particles such as montmorillonite on improving mechanical and thermal properties of the polymer matrix composite. Epoxy and vinyl ester nanocomposites were prepared by adding different weight percentages (0.5%, 1%, 2%, 5% and 10%) of montmorillonite nano clay particles to epoxy and vinyl ester matrices. The results show significant improvements in mechanical and thermal properties of the nanostructured materials with low loading of organo silicates. Thermal property measurement includes dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA). Mechanical properties such as flexural strength and flexural modulus of polymer matrix were improved in nano structured materials owing to their unique phase morphology and improved interfacial interactions. Molecular dispersion of the layered silicate within the cross-linked matrix was verified using Wide Angle X-Ray Diffraction (WAXD) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) revealing the intercalated nanocomposites were formed.

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