A study of a typical intercalated structure of a thermotropic liquid crystalline polymer (TLCP) with organoclay was performed to elucidate the influence of intercalated organoclay on the TLCP molecules, especially on their liquid crystallinity, thermal and rheological properties. The intercalated structures were confirmed in TLCP and organoclay formed molecular interactions with TLCP molecules in the system. Such intercalated structures caused the glass transition temperature of the nanocomposite to become invisible in thermal measurement and also caused loss of liquid crystallinity. The TLCP molecules inside the organoclay galleries showed higher thermal stability and transition temperatures, but the orderly structure of the TLCP molecules outside the galleries was destroyed by the organoclay, causing the TLCP to display lower thermal stability and transition temperatures than pristine TLCP. At 185°C, where TLCP is in the nematic phase, the nanocomposite had three orders of magnitude higher viscosity in the linear viscoelastic region than that of TLCP, with chain mobility and relaxation time slowed due to the intercalated effects in the nanocomposite. Steady shear altered the domain sizes and oriented the highly anisotropic organoclay layers or tactoids along the shear direction.
- Liquid crystalline polymer (LCP)