Polyethylene/Clay/Graphite Nanocomposites as Potential Materials for Preparation of Reinforced Conductive Natural Gas Transfer Pipes

Document Type: Research Article

Authors

1 Faculty of Chemical Engineering, Urmia University of Technology, Urmia, I.R. IRAN

2 Polymer Engineering Department, Faculty of Chemical Engineering, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, I.R. IRAN

Abstract

A series of high-density polyethylene/Cloisite 20A/graphite nanocomposites were prepared via melt blending for the production of polymeric pipes for natural gas transfer. The microstructural, mechanical, thermal, electrical and barrier properties of prepared nanocomposites were investigated. An intercalated morphology was observed for prepared nanocomposites. Improved mechanical properties e.g. over 148 % increase in Young’s modulus were observed by incorporating the nanoparticles into the polyethylene matrix. The thermal analysis showed that the melting point of polyethylene was slightly increased by incorporating both fillers, i.e. Cloisite 20A and graphite in it, and the crystallinity was depended on the type of filler. The results showed that the MFI values decreased by incorporating the fillers into the polyethylene matrix and further decreases were observed by increasing the contents of the filler. It was also found that a considerable amount of electrical conductivity is created in graphite loaded nanocomposites. The natural gas permeability investigations revealed of more than 51 % decrease in the permeability by incorporating 5 wt.% of Cloisite 20A to the polyethylene. It was concluded that the prepared nanocomposites due to their enhanced mechanical, thermal and barrier properties along with the conductive nature are excellent materials to be used in the production of polymeric pipes in natural gas distribution and transportation networks.

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