Flame retarding polyamide 11 with exfoliated vermiculite nanoflakes

21 May 2019

Polyamide 11‐based bionanocomposites were prepared by melt compounding with 10 wt% clays of different chemistry and morphology. This included vermiculite nanoflakes obtained by consecutive thermal and ultrasonic exfoliation in both neat and organo‐modified form. The mechanical reinforcement‐ and flame‐retardant performance of the vermiculite clays were compared to organo‐modified montmorillonite (Cloisite 30B) and needle‐shaped sepiolite (Pangel S9). Electron microscope investigations revealed different structures and dispersion levels of the clay nanoparticles in the polymer matrix. Tensile tests showed that the addition of clays led to considerable improvements in Young's modulus without compromising the elongation at break. Compared to the neat polymer, all clays reduced the peak heat release rate and the smoke production rate in cone calorimeter testing. Surprisingly, the needle‐shaped sepiolite clay and the two vermiculites outperformed the montmorillonite organoclay in the fire testing even though it featured the highest degree of exfoliation in the polymer matrix.