Nylon 6-Clay Hybrid - Synthesis, Properties and Application to Automotive Timing Belt Cover
ϵ-caprolactam was polymerized in the interlayer space of montmorillonite, the clay mineral yielding a nylon-clay hybrid (NCH). X-ray and TEM measurements revealed that each template of the silicate, which was 1 nm thick, was dispersed in the nylon 6 matrix, and that the interlayer distance of clay increased continuously from 1.2 nm for the unintercalated material to 21.4 nm for the intercalated material. Thus, NCH is a polymer-based molecular composite or a nano-composite. NCH contains 1-15 vol% of monolayer clay. Injection-molded NCH showed excellent mechanical properties compared with nylon 6 in terms of tensile strength, tensile modulus and heat resistance. The tensile modulus of NCH was twice that of Nylon 6, and the heat distortion temperature increased from 65°C for nylon 6 to 145°C for the NCH containing only 1.6 vol% of a clay mineral. It was found that such excellent properties of an NCH system was due to the strong ionic interaction between nylon 6 and the silicate layer.