Structural and mechanical behavior of layered zirconium phosphonate as a distributed phase in polycaprolactone

Benjamin R. Furman, Stephen T. Wellinghoff, Richard M. Laine, Kwai S. Chan, Daniel P. Nicolella, H. Ralph Rawls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Mixed-surface octyl/methoxyundecyl a-zir-conium phosphonates (ZrPs) were investigated as distributed nanoscale fillers, in concentrations up to 50% w/w, for the purpose of increasing the elastic modulus and yield strength of polycaprolactone (PCL) without a meaningful reduction of its ductility. The volumetric nanoparticle loadings were estimated to be over 70% higher than those in nanocomposites with comparable weight fractions of nano-clay. The mechanical properties of the ZrP/PCL nanocom-posite were evaluated with tensile, flexural, and dynamic mechanical testing methods. Nanocomposites containing 5% w/w ZrP showed significant increases in both the ten- sile yield stress and elastic modulus without any loss of ductility versus the unfilled polymer. Layer delamination from the ZrP tactoids was minimal. Kinetic barriers and the strong interlayer attraction between the ZrP surfaces limited intercalative penetration of the ZrP tactoids. ZrP loadings of 20% w/w or more resulted in the agglomeration of tac-toids, leading to defect structures with a loss of strength and, at the highest loading, ductility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)993-1001
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Polymer Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 15 2009


  • Interpenetrating networks (IPN)
  • Miscibility
  • Nanocomposites
  • Nanolayers
  • Polyesters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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