Organoclay/thermotropic liquid crystalline polymer nanocomposites. Part II: shear-induced phase separation
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Experimental studies on a kind of thermotropic liquid crystalline polymer (TLCP) containing 30% p-hydroxybenzoic acid (HBA), 35% hydroquinone (HQ), and 35% sebacic acid (SA) in mole fractions and its nanocomposite (TC3) containing 3.0 wt% organoclay are reported. The structures and dynamics of shear-induced phase separation and the effects of these structures on the macroscopic rheological properties of the nanocomposite are characterized under different shear conditions at 190 °C, which is in the nematic transition region of TLCP. The molecular level interactions between organoclay and TLCP molecules form a percolated-network structure in the composite, causing the composite to display complex viscosity with more than two orders of magnitude greater than that of TLCP in linear regions. However, such a network structure is easily destroyed in steady shear deformation, and it does not recover. Polarized optical microscopy (POM) equipped with a Cambridge shear system and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) confirm a shear-induced phase separation phenomenon during steady shear deformation. Two phases are observed in POM and TEM, with TLCP-rich and organoclay-rich phases. Steady shear at a small shear rate is effective to separate the two phases for characterizations.
KeywordsShear Rate Polarize Optical Microscopy Sebacic Acid Thermotropic Liquid Crystalline Polymer Liquid Crystalline Structure
This project was funded by a grant from the Research Grant Council of Hong Kong, grant number HKUST6256/02.
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