Molecular dynamics of carrageenan composites reinforced with Cloisite Na+ montmorillonite nanoclay

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Carsí M.
Culebras M.
Gómez C.M.
Gonzales K.N.
Sanchis M.J.
Torres F.G.
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Nanocomposites comprising biodegradable carrageenan and glycerol (KCg) as the host polymer, with different contents of natural montmorillonite (MMT) as filler, were prepared by a solution casting process. Different techniques have been used to determine the interaction/behavior among the different components of the samples such as Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), Transmission electron microscope (TEM) and, mainly, Dielectric relaxation spectroscopy (DRS). FTIR indicates hydrogen interaction between carrageenan matrix and silicate that is confirmed by the XRD data indicating some kind of carrageenan intercalation between the MMT layers. A rather homogenous distribution of MMT into KCg matrix were observed using transmission electron microscopy. The MMT effect on the molecular mobility at the glass transition was studied by dielectric relaxation spectroscopy. The MMT addition resulted in a slower relaxation and a wider distribution of the relaxation times. The fragility index, m, increased upon MMT incorporation, which may be attributed to a reduction in mobility chains, due to the MMT confinement of the KCg network. In addition, the apparent activation energy associated with the relaxation dynamics of the chains at Tg increased with the MMT content. The modified films developed in this paper could be used to prepare biodegradable and edible packaging films and films for biomedical applications with improved mechanical and good dielectric response.
This work was supported by the Dirección General de Ciencia y Tecnología (DGCYT) [MAT2015-63955-R]; the Vice-Rectorate for Research of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and the National Council of Science, Technology and Technological Innovation of Peru (CONCYTEC/FONDECYT).
Palabras clave
Molecular dynamics, Activation energy, Biodegradable polymers, Chains, Clay minerals, Dielectric relaxation, Filled polymers, Glass transition, High resolution transmission electron microscopy, Medical applications