The mechanical properties of particulate filled polymers are influenced significantly by interfacial interactions. The adhesion between the polymer and the filler depends on the area of the interface and the strength of the interaction. The former is related to specific area of the filler while the strength of the interaction can be modified by surface treatment. This study is focused on comparing the reinforcing ability of muscovite and phlogopite with and without surface treatment. Muscovite and phlogopite are two common forms of mica. Mechanical properties such as Young's modulus, tensile strength, elongation and impact strength were used to compare the reinforcing ability of muscovite and phlogopite in EVA composites. The Young's modulus of the surface treated and non-surface treated composites increased with an increase in filler loading. Composites reinforced with muscovite had similar moduli compared to composites reinforced with phlogopite. The tensile strength of phlogopite reinforced composites increased with an increase in filler content while that of muscovite reinforced composites remained constant. Surface modification by both silane and stearic acid reduced the tensile strength of phlogopite reinforced composites. The tensile strength of stearic acid treated muscovite reinforced composites improved but not to the same extent as the silane treated composites. Both muscovite and phlogopite lead to a lowering of the impact strength at high filler loadings while the tensile impact strength of both muscovite and phlogopite reinforced composites improved when using silane and stearic acid. In non-surface treated systems, muscovite reinforced composites showed an initial increase in elongation while the elongation of phlogopite reinforced composites decreased with an increase in filler loading. Elongation at maximum load values, however, increased at low filler loadings, when using stearic acid. It can be concluded that stearic acid is not an effective coupling agent for mica/EVA composites and that the use of silane for phlogopite reinforced composites does not offer any improvement in mechanical properties.
Dissertation (MSc (Chemical Technology))--University of Pretoria, 2006.