Polymer–Clay Nanocomposite Particles and Soap-free Latexes Stabilized by Clay Platelets: State of the Art and Recent Advances
Recent advances in synthesis of polymer/clay nanocomposites by heterophase polymerisation in aqueous dispersed media are briefly reviewed in this chapter. Particular emphasis is given to emulsion polymerisation and to the ability to produce polymer/clay nanocomposites with controlled nanostructures. A focus is also given on the influence of these nanostructures on the final properties of the composite materials. Besides conventional emulsion polymerisation, increasing interest into the synthesis of clay-armoured latexes produced in the absence of surfactant has emerged in the recent literature. This review highlights recent developments in this area which have contributed to a deeper understanding of the mechanism of particle formation. Important breakthroughs including the production of high solids content latexes and latex films with enhanced mechanical properties are reported and discussed. Finally, process features and modelling are introduced to show their interest in the comprehension of the reaction mechanisms and the optimisation of the operating conditions.