The interlayer swelling and molecular packing in organoclays

D. R. Paul, Q. H. Zeng, A. B. Yu, G. Q. Lu

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Understanding the interlayer swelling and molecular packing in organoclays is important to the formation and design of polymer nanocomposites. This paper presents recent experimental and molecular simulation studies on a variety of organoclays that show a linear relationship between the increase of d-spacing and the mass ratio between organic and clay. A denser molecular packing is observed in organoclays containing surfactants with hydroxyl-ethyl units. Moreover, our simulation results show that the head (nitrogen) groups are essentially tethered to the clay surface while the long hydrocarbon chains tend to adopt a layering structure with disordered conformation, which contrasts with the previous assumptions of either the chains lying parallel to the clay surface or being tilted at rather precise angles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-468
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Interlayer swelling
  • Molecular packing
  • Nanocomposite
  • Organoclay

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