Thermomechanical and Morphological Properties of Poly(ethylene terephthalate)/Anhydrous Calcium Terephthalate Nanocomposites

Polymers (Basel). 2020 Jan 30;12(2):276. doi: 10.3390/polym12020276.


Calcium terephthalate anhydrous salts (CATAS), synthetized by reaction of terephthalic acid with metal (Ca) oxide were incorporated at different weight contents (0-30 wt. %) in recycled Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (rPET) by melt processing. Their structure, morphology, thermal and mechanical properties (tensile and flexural behavior) were investigated. Results of tensile strength of the different formulations showed that when the CATAS content increased from 0.1 to 0.4 wt. %, tangible changes were observed (variation of tensile strength from 65.5 to 69.4 MPa, increasing value for E from 2887 up to 3131 MPa, respectively for neat rPET and rPET_0.4CATAS). A threshold weight amount (0.4 wt. %) of CATAS was also found, by formation at low loading, of a rigid amorphous fraction at the rPET/CATAS interface, due to the aromatic interactions (π-π conjugation) between the matrix and the filler. Above the threshold, a restriction of rPET/CATAS molecular chains mobility was detected, due to the formation of hybrid mechanical percolation networks. Additionally, enhanced thermal stability of CATAS filled rPET was registered at high content (Tmax shift from 426 to 441 °C, respectively, for rPET and rPET_30CATAS), essentially due to chemical compatibility between terephthalate salts and polymer molecules, rich in stable aromatic rings. The singularity of a cold crystallization event, identified at the same loading level, confirmed the presence of an equilibrium state between nucleation and blocking effect of amorphous phase, basically related to the characteristic common terephthalate structure of synthetized Ca-Metal Organic Framework and the rPET matrix.

Keywords: Calcium terephthalate salts; high performance nanocomposites; rPET; recycled poly(ethylene terephthalate).