Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The objectives of this research are to study the structure, morphology and properties of poly(ethylene-oxide) (PEO)-clay nanocomposites using various imaging techniques. Optical Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy and Atomic Force Microscopy are used to image structures on all length scales. Complementary scattering experiments are discussed along with preliminary differential scanning calorimetry and Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy results. In particular we investigated the multilayered structures of PEO-Laponite and PEO-Montmorillonite multilayered films made from solution. The shear orientation of a polymer-clay network in solution combined with simultaneous solvent evaporation leads to supramolecular multilayer formation in the film. The resulting films have highly ordered structures with sheet-like multilayers on the micrometer length scale. The polymer covered clay platelets were found to orient in interconnected blob-like chains and layers on the nanometer length scale. Inside the blobs, scattering experiments indicate the polymer covered and stacked clay platelets orient in the plane of the film. The effect of clay on polymer crystallinity in multilayered films containing different concentrations of clay is inferred from preliminary DSC studies. Overall our results suggest the re-intercalation of clay platelets in films made from exfoliated polymer-clay solutions as well as the supramolecular order and hierarchical structuring on the nanometer, via micrometer to the centimeter length scale.



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Committee Chair

Gudrun Schmidt

Included in

Chemistry Commons