Morphology, nucleation, and isothermal crystallization kinetics of poly(butylene succinate) mixed with a polycarbonate/MWCNTs masterbatch
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In this study, nanocomposites were prepared by melt blending poly(butylene succinate) (PBS) with a polycarbonate (PC)/multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) masterbatch, in a twin-screw extruder. The nanocomposites contained 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 wt% MWCNTs. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and wide angle X-ray scattering (WAXS) results indicate that the blends are partially miscible, hence they form two phases (i.e., PC-rich and PBS-rich phases). The PC-rich phase contained a small amount of PBS chains that acted as a plasticizer and enabled crystallization of the PC component. In the PBS-rich phase, the amount of the PC chains present gave rise to increases in the glass transition temperature of the PBS phase. The presence of two phases was supported by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) analysis, where most MWCNTs aggregated in the PC-rich phase (especially at the high MWCNTs content of 4 wt%) and a small amount of MWCNTs were able to diffuse to the PBS-rich phase. Standard DSC scans showed that the MWCNTs nucleation effects saturated at 0.5 wt% MWCNT content on the PBS-rich phase, above this content a negative nucleation effect was observed. Isothermal crystallization results indicated that with 0.5 wt% MWCNTs the crystallization rate was accelerated, but further increases in MWCNTs loading (and also in PC content) resulted in progressive decreases in crystallization rate. The results are explained by increased MWCNTs aggregation and reduced diffusion rates of PBS chains, as the masterbatch content in the blends increased.
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