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Kevin Meyers - Multilayered Composites Containing High Aspect Ratio Particulates: Innovation in High Gas Barrier Films

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Kevin Meyers - Multilayered Composites Containing High Aspect Ratio Particulates: Innovation in High Gas Barrier Films

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Kevin Meyers
Ph.D. Candidtate
The University of Southern Mississippi

ABSTRACT

Polyethylene (PE) is one of the least expensive commodity plastics produced in high volume and is used in a variety of applications, in particular packaging films. While, high gas barrier is often an essential attribute of a packaging film all kinds of polyethylenes unfortunately exhibit rather low gas barriers. There is therefore a need to modify PE in order to enhance the gas barrier. Incorporation of inorganic platelet shaped fillers to polymers has been extensively employed as a versatile approach to improve gas barrier.  In this study, layer multilplying coextrusion was employed to produce films consisting of alternating layers of unfilled and particulate filled polymers, i.e., low density polyethylene (LDPE) and maleic anhydride grafted linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE-g-MA)/organoclay nanocomposites. The clay concentration within the nanocomposite layers was increased several fold through annealing of the multilayer film in the melt state. Residing in the melt state activated the interdiffusion between the polymers and due to a significant difference in the molecular mobility between the LDPE and LLDPE-g-MA chains led to a moving boundary effect which contracted the (LLDPE-g-MA)-rich nanocomposite layers and expanded the LDPE-rich layers. Analysis of the clay morphology within the nanocomposite layers demonstrated an increase in the clay particle lengths and aspect ratios, which was attributed to the growth of “skewed” aggregates during layer contraction and particle concentration. The melt induced clay concentration and increased clay particle dimensions caused a significant decrease in oxygen permeability of the nanocomposite layers and reduced the overall permeability of the multilayered films. 

 Biography

Kevin Meyers received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering with a Minor in Biological Sciences from Louisiana State University in 2009.  He then joined the Polymer Science Department at the University of Southern Mississippi to pursue his Ph.D.  He is a currently a member of the Nazarenko Research group under the advisement of Dr. Sergei Nazarenko.  His current research focuses on gas transport, free volume, morphological and fire behavior analysis in polymer nanocomposites.  His studies have an emphasis on multilayered nanocomposite films that was made possible through the Center for Layered Polymeric Systems (CLiPS), a multi-university NSF Science and Technology Center.

Cell: (601)329-3209

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