Effects of silane functionalization of alumina whiskers on high-density polyethylene composites

Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
New polyethylene matrix and alumina whiskers composites have been designed in order to combine the processability of common thermoplastics with improved physical properties. This work analyzes the influence of the composite formulation on the morphological, rheological and thermal properties of the new materials. Concerning rheological properties, a significant increase in viscosity and storage modulus is observed for high alumina whiskers content. Furthermore, the whiskers were functionalized with silane coupling agent in order to improve compatibility with the matrix. Two surface treatments were used for comparison purposes, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was applied for evaluating the chemical changes on the surface of whiskers. Pre-treatment with the silane coupling agent brought about beneficial changes in morphology and rheology, related with improved dispersion of whiskers and increased filler–matrix interface. Finally, the inclusion of only 5 wt.% filler, functionalized with 100 wt.% silane, increased the thermal stability of matrix around 37%.
Article first published online: October 22, 2013;Issue published: October 1, 2014