Can nature's design be improved upon? High strength, transparent nacre-like nanocomposites with double network of sacrificial cross links

J Phys Chem B. 2008 Nov 20;112(46):14359-63. doi: 10.1021/jp801492n. Epub 2008 Jul 1.


The preparation of a high-strength and highly transparent nacre-like nanocomposite via layer-by-layer assembly technique from poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and Na+-montmorillonite clay nanosheets is reported in this article. We show that a high density of weak bonding interactions between the polymer and the clay particles: hydrogen, dipole-induced dipole, and van der Waals undergoing break-reform deformations, can lead to high strength nanocomposites: sigmaUTS approximately 150 MPa and E' approximately 13 GPa. Further introduction of ionic bonds into the polymeric matrix creates a double network of sacrificial bonds which dramatically increases the mechanical properties: sigmaUTS approximately 320 MPa and E' approximately 60 GPa.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bentonite / chemistry
  • Calcium Carbonate / chemistry*
  • Light*
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Nanocomposites / chemistry*
  • Nanotechnology*
  • Polyvinyl Alcohol / chemistry
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet


  • Bentonite
  • Polyvinyl Alcohol
  • Calcium Carbonate