The effect of nanoclay on the rheology and dynamics of polychlorinated biphenyl†
The thermal, rheological, and mechanical and dielectric relaxation properties of exfoliated dispersions of montmorillonite clay in a molecular liquid, polychlorobiphenyl (PCB), were studied. The viscosity enhancement at low concentrations of clay (≤5%) exceeded by a factor of 50 the increase obtainable with conventional fillers. However, the effect of the nanoclay on the local dynamics, including the glass transition temperature, was quite small. All materials herein conformed to density-scaling of the reorientation relaxation time of the PCB for a common value of the scaling exponent. A new relaxation process was observed in the mixtures, associated with PCB molecules in proximity to the clay surface. This process has an anomalously high dielectric strength, suggesting a means to exploit nanoparticles to achieve large electrical energy absorption. This lower frequency dispersion has a weaker dependence on pressure and density, consistent with dynamics constrained by interactions with the particle surface.