291739 Polymer-Graphite Nanocomposite Fabrication Via Solid-State Melt Extrusion (SSME)

Monday, October 29, 2012
Hall B (Convention Center )
Thomas Bollinger, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA and Katsuyuki Wakabayashi, Department of Chemical Engineering, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA

Polymer nanocomposites can offer substantial, often synergistic, increases in material properties and reduction in costs as compared to regular polymer composites. Novel processing techniques are required to achieve the optimal balance of material properties and production rate required for industrial applications.

Solid-State Shear Pulverization (SSSP), a technique that has been previously used at Bucknell University, combines a polymer matrix and filler at conditions of low temperature to produce highly dispersed and exfoliated polymer nanocomposites with excellent material properties. However, the production rate of SSSP is relatively low and the product is in an undesirable powder form after processing. These shortcomings are being addressed by a newly developed technique called Solid-State Melt Extrusion (SSME).

The SSME process combines the features of SSSP and traditional twin screw extrusion (TSE). Initially, the polymer and filler are combined in the solid state in the initial chilled zones of the extruder. The materials are then melted and kneaded together in the heated end zones. This unique sequential process produces polymer strands, which can be handled easily, at a much higher rate than SSSP.

This poster presents the latest developments in the SSME technology. Linear low-density polyethylene samples were produced using the SSME process at three different operating speeds, and compared to those made via SSSP and TSE, as well as the neat polymer. Thermal, mechanical, and morphological analyses were performed to demonstrate the ideal processing method for different desired production criteria.

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