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Synthesis and properties of biodegradable poly(vinyl alcohol)/organo-nanoclay nanocomposites

Abstract

Biodegradable nanocomposites comprising of biodegradable polymers and bioactive organically modified layered silicates commonly reveal extremely enhanced mechanical and various other properties when compared to those of virgin polymers. This work was undertaken with a view to preparation of polymer bionanocomposites consisting of biodegradable poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and organo-nanoclay. Cloisite Na+ and ammonium salt of l-isoleucine amino acid was used for the preparation of the novel chiral organo-nanoclay via an intercalation reaction in an aqueous solution. PVA/organo-nanoclay bionanocomposites of various compositions were created through the solution intercalation method by ultrasound-assisted technique. The resulting novel materials were characterized by X-ray diffraction and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy techniques. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and UV/vis spectroscopy were applied to test the properties of PVA bionanocomposites. TGA indicate that the thermal stability is enhanced distinctly, without a sacrifice in optical clarity. The improvement of thermal properties was attributed to the homogeneous and good dispersion of organo-nanoclay in polymeric matrix and the strong hydrogen bonding between O–H groups of PVA and the oxygen atoms of silicate layers or carbonyl group as well as OH group of intercalated amino acid. The morphology of the organo-nanoclay and PVA bionanocomposites was examined by scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy techniques. Uniform distribution of clay due to intimate interaction between clay and polymer appears to be the cause for improved properties.