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Int. J. Nano and Biomaterials, Vol. 5, No.

1, 2014 45
Copyright 2014 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.











Thermal and flexural properties of room-temperature
cured PMMA grafted natural rubber toughened epoxy
layered silicate nanocomposite
Nor Yuliana Yuhana*
Department of Chemical and Process Engineering,
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia,
43000 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia
Fax: +603-8921-6148 E-mail: yuliana@eng.ukm.my
*Corresponding author
Sahrim Hj. Ahmad
Department of Material Science,
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia,
43000 Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia
E-mail: sahrim@ukm.my
Mahmood Mebrabzadeh
Poly M Inc.,
2152 Etienne Montgolfier,
St. Laurent Montreal, QC, H4R 3H7, Canada
E-mail: mmehrabzadeh@polyminc.com
Abdul Razak Shamsul Bahri
Agrotechnology and Food Science Faculty,
Universiti Malaysia Terengganu,
21030 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia
E-mail: shamsul@umt.edu.my
Abstract: Thermal and flexural properties of ternary system containing
epoxy, poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) grafted natural rubber, and organic
chemically modified montmorillonite clay (Cloisite 30B) were studied. The
results of TEM, SEM, XRD, FTIR, DSC, TGA and flexural tests were
discussed. The rates of glass transition and decomposition process were
introduced as relevant parameters to evaluate glass transition and thermal
stability. It was observed that the addition of 5 phr Cloisite 30B in epoxy
contributed to significant improvement in thermal properties and flexural
modulus of nanocomposites. The intercalated structure of silicate clay may help
to introduce tortuous path for volatiles to escape the epoxy network, hence
retarding the decomposition process. The high char yield content for
epoxy/clay and rubber toughened epoxy/clay nanocomposite show that they
can be used as adhesive and coating materials with good thermal stability
properties.









46 N.Y. Yuhana et al.












Keywords: epoxy; nanocomposites; rubber; thermal stability; flexural
properties.
Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Yuhana, N.Y.
Ahmad, S.H., Mebrabzadeh, M. and Shamsul Bahri, A.R. (2014) Thermal and
flexural properties of room-temperature cured PMMA grafted natural rubber
toughened epoxy layered silicate nanocomposite, Int. J. Nano and
Biomaterials, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp.4558.
Biographical notes: Nor Yuliana Yuhana is a Lecturer in the Department of
Chemical and Process Engineering at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
She is currently working on epoxy ternary nanocomposite systems. Her
interests are in processing-structure-property relationship of polymer blends
and composites, phase separation in polymer blends, and also in the barrier and
thermal properties of polymer. Besides research, she is a travel lover.
Sahrim Hj. Ahmad is a Professor in the Material Science Program at Universiti
Kebangsaan Malaysia. His current research areas are in polymer composites,
magnetic materials, natural fibre reinforced composites and polyurethane from
natural polyol.
Mahmood Mehrabzadeh is Founder and President of Poly M Inc. in Montreal,
Canada. He has vast experience in polymer research and works closely with the
plastics, rubbers and composite companies to solve their technical, material,
quality and productivity issues.
Abdul Razak Shamsul Bahri is a Lecturer in the Agrotechnology and Food
Science Faculty at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu. His strong technical
expertise includes the microscopy works on rubber latex, polymer blends and
composites.
This paper is a revised and expanded version of a paper entitled Thermal
stability and morphology of room-temperature cured PMMA grafted natural
rubber toughened epoxy layered silicate nanocomposite presented at the 2nd
International Conference on Process Engineering and Advance Materials
(ICPEAM12), Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, 1214 June 2012.

1 Introduction
Epoxy resins are widely used as coating, adhesive and composite matrices in the
structural, building and transportation industries due to their low cost, ease of processing,
excellent adhesion and good mechanical, thermal and barrier properties. The reaction of
the epoxy monomer with a variety of curing agents produces a wide range of product
properties. Under optimum conditions of mixing with the curing agent, the cured epoxy
material exhibits a three dimensional network structure (Kaelbe, 1973). Normally, the
resulting structure leads to brittleness, due to the high crosslink density.
The common approach to deal with resin brittleness involves the incorporation
of fibres, rubber and thermoplastic polymers, micro or nano fillers and polyorganic
siloxane to improve the fracture toughness (Zhang, 2003; Becker and Simon, 2005).
The addition of rubber has been the most successful commercially. Ratna and Banthia
(2004) reviewed the use of liquid and preformed rubber particles. Liquid synthetic









Thermal and flexural properties of room-temperature cured PMMA 47












rubbery components have been used, such as carboxyl terminated butadiene-acrylonitrile
(CTBN) (Ramos et al., 2005; McEwan et al., 1999; Russell and Chartoff, 2005),
carboxyl-randomised butadiene-acrylonitrile (CRBN), acrylonitrile-butadiene rubbers
(NBR) (Frounchi et al., 2000), and hydroxyl-terminated butadiene-acrylonitrile (HTBN)
rubber (Minfeng et al., 2008), and hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) (Ramos
et al., 2005; McEwan et al., 1999; Russell and Chartoff, 2005; Minfeng et al., 2008;
Thomas et al., 2008). Chemically modified natural rubber, such as PMMA-grafted
natural rubber and epoxidised liquid natural rubber have been also studied and used
(Zainol et al., 2006; Rezaifard et al., 1994).
The incorporation of nano-fillers in polymer matrices to improve thermal,
mechanical, barrier, electrical, and optical properties has gained interest recently. The
most common types of polymer nanocomposites incorporate silicate, carbon or metal
oxide nanoparticles. In polymer nanocomposites, a small amount of silicate nanoparticles
(less than 5 wt. %) is commonly used. The silicate types used include natural
silicate (montmorillonite, hectorite, etc.) and synthetic silicate (laponite, magadiite and
flourohectorite). However, the most commonly used and studied nanoclay is
montmorillonite (MMT), a layered aluminosilicate (Azeez et al., 2013). The interesting
feature of the layered silicates is their high aspect ratio. Also, it is available in the market
as organically modified clay. This facilitates the dispersion and exfoliation of the layers
in a polymer matrix, at the nanometer scale.
It is often stated that the layered silicate can increase the glass transition temperature
(T
g
) by restricting the epoxy chain mobility. They can also reduce the T
g
, due to the
presence of hydroxyl group in unmodified mica and acidic onium ion in organically
modified silicate, which both, can act as catalyst for epoxy homopolymerisation (Becker
et al., 2003; Froehlich et al., 2004). If this happens, the unreacted curing agent will
plasticise the matrix. Kinloch et al. concluded that intercalated structure of silicate can
increase the T
g
(Kinloch and Taylor, 2003). Becker found that increasing organoclay
concentration steadily decreases the T
g
(Becker et al., 2003). Also, the glass transition
temperature of the final nanocomposites depends on the montmorillonite modifier
structure (Grea et al., 2010).
The improvement in thermal stability of nanocomposites is often mentioned to be due
to the torturous path for volatile decomposition products. The thermal stability of epoxy
increased with the contents of inorganic components, owing to the increased char
(Chiang et al., 2007). The char layer can protect unburned structure materials during fire.
The decrease in thermal stability may be attributed to the catalytic activity of organoclay
on epoxy decomposition (Camino et al., 2005). In the case of epoxy/rubber blend, the
lower T
g
may be due to the good compatibility between rubber and epoxy that would
cause rubber to remain in epoxy matrix and plasticised the system. The increase in T
g

may be explained by phase separation of dissolved rubber (Lee et al., 1989; Balakrishnan
et al., 2005).
The flexural modulus is generally improved by incorporation of layered silicate, due
to shear deformation and stress transfer to the layered particles. The decrease in flexural
strength and failure strain, however, could be due to an inhomogeneous and reduced
network density in the presence of fillers. Meanwhile, the incorporation of dispersed
rubbery particles in a layered silicate/epoxy nanocomposite has received significant
attention (Liu et al., 2004; Froehlich et al., 2004; Balakrishnan and Raghavan, 2004;
Balakrishnan et al., 2005; Ratna et al., 2003; Becker and Simon, 2005; Lee et al., 2010;
Marouf et al., 2009). It was found that the flexural strength and modulus of rubber









48 N.Y. Yuhana et al.












toughened epoxy silicate nanocomposites were higher, compared to the neat epoxy
(Balakrishnan et al., 2005).
The current research attempts to study the effect of both liquid natural rubber and
layered silicates (i.e., montmorillonite) in epoxy on the properties of the ternary system.
The DGEBA type epoxy is toughened with PMMA-grafted natural rubber latex and
nanoclay (Cloisite 30B). The direct use of the chemically modified latex is favourable,
since it is cheaper, easy to blend and eco-friendly, compared to the use of dried
chemically modified rubber that requires volatile organic compounds such as toluene,
methylethylketone or dichloromethane for dissolution, prior to mixing with epoxy. The
use of dried PMMA-grafted natural rubber to toughen epoxy was studied by Zainol et al.
(2006) and Rezaifard et al. (1994). In this paper, we report the thermal and flexural
properties of the room temperature cured samples. The detailed morphological studies
were briefly discussed elsewhere (Yuhana et al., 2012).
2 Experimental
2.1 Materials
Diglycidyl ether bisphenol A (DGEBA) epoxy resin, Epikote 828, was obtained from
Hexion Specialty Chemicals, Korea. The epoxide equivalent weight was 187 g/mol. The
liquid curing agent, Baxxodur TM EC301 (formerly known as Polyetheramine D230),
was supplied by BASF. The composition is alpha-(2-Aminomethylethyl)-omega-(2-
aminomethylethoxy)-poly(oxy(methyl-1,2-ethanediyl)). PMMA-grafted natural rubber
Megatex 30 was obtained from Green HPSP (M) Sdn. Bhd. The organically modified
montmorillonite utilised was Cloisite 30B, purchased from Southern Clay Products,
USA. The composition of the modifier is bis (hydroxyl ethyl) methyl tallow alkyl
ammonium salts with montmorillonite.
2.2 Sample preparation by mechanical stirring
The compositions of the four prepared systems are demonstrated in Table 1. One hundred
grams of bisphenol A diglycidyl ether were added to a stainless steel cup. It was heated to
about 55C by using a hot plate. This was followed by the addition of Cloisite 30B or
latex, and mechanical stirring at about 50 rpm for about 1 hr. A stoichiometric amount of
the liquid curing agent was then added and stirred for about 10 minutes. For the ternary
system, the natural rubber in latex was added after 30 minutes of mixing Cloisite 30B
with the epoxy, and the mixture was stirred for another 30 min at 5070 rpm. The total
mixing duration of the ternary system was about 1 hr. The mixture was then cured at
room temperature for a week.
2.3 Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR)
Infrared analysis of the cured epoxy films was carried out using a Nicolet 6700 by
Thermo Scientific. In this report, spectra are presented in the range between 4,000 cm
1

and 800 cm
1
.










Thermal and flexural properties of room-temperature cured PMMA 49












Table 1 Composition of prepared samples
Weight of component [gram]

Epikote 828 Megatex 30 Cloisite 30B
Epoxy 100 0 0
Epoxy-5 MG30 100 5 0
Epoxy-530B 100 0 5
Epoxy-5MG30-530B 100 5 5
2.4 Differential scanning calorimetry analysis
The glass transition temperature of cured samples were determined by using Mettler
Toledo DSC 822
e
. The sample was heated at 10C min
1
from 25 to 170C. The sample
was also maintained at that temperature for approximately 2 min, next it was cooled
to 20C at the rate of 20C min
1
to remove any thermal history. The sample was then
re-scanned using a modulated heating programme as described above, twice.
The studied parameters are the onset of glass transition (T
g
), the inflection slope (m
g
)
and the specific heat capacity increment (c
gp
). These parameters were estimated by
wielding STARe software.
2.5 Thermalgravimetric analysis
The thermal stability of cured samples was studied by using Mettler Toledo TGA 851
e
.
Specimens comprising a mass between 15 mg and 20 mg were placed in 40 uL alumina
crucible, and the mass was heated from 25 to 500C at a rate of 10C /min, under
nitrogen flow.
The decomposition of epoxy is divided into two steps, namely volatilisation of low
molecular weight compound and epoxy decomposition which are estimated to take place
between 50250C, and 250500C respectively. The measured parameters during the
two processes are the onset temperature (T
v
or T
d
), temperature at maximum rate (T
maxv
or
T
maxd
), inflection slope value (m
v
or m
d
) and volatiles and char mass percentage (w
v
or
w
d
). The TGA thermograms and derivative (DTG) curves of cured epoxy and modified
epoxies were analysed by utilising STARe software.
2.6 Flexural test
Flexural tests under four-point bend configuration were performed by using Instron 5567
universal testing machine, according to ASTM D790. The cross head speed was
1 mm/min and all the tests were performed at room temperature. The dimensions of the
samples were about 60 25 3 mm
3
and the span to thickness ratio was set at
L/D = 16:1 in all cases.











50 N.Y. Yuhana et al.












3 Result and discussions
3.1 FTIR
The FTIR spectra of cured samples, epoxy resin and curing agent liquid are compared in
Figures 1(a) and (b). Two peaks at 830 and 911 cm
1
corresponding to the epoxide ring
can be observed in the spectrum of epoxy resin liquid. It appears that cured sample of
epoxy-rubber blend and epoxy nanocomposite contained the unreacted epoxide
functional groups, due to peak appearance at 830 cm
1
. The primary amine presence in
the curing agent, polyetheramine could be observed by the presence of two peaks
between 3,300 and 3,500 cm
1
. The peaks however vanished for all cured modified and
unmodified epoxy systems. The epoxy-rubber blend and epoxy nanocomposites,
however, showed a weak peak at 3,400 cm
1
, that can indicate the presence of secondary
amine. No epoxide ring, primary and secondary amine peaks were observed in the
spectrum of cured epoxy and ternary system.
Figure 1 The FTIR spectra of (a) epoxy liquid resin, Epikote 828 and (b) curing agent liquid
Polyetheramine D230, and cured samples

(a)

(b)









Thermal and flexural properties of room-temperature cured PMMA 51












3.2 Differential scanning calorimetry analysis
The graphs of DSC analysis on the four samples are given in Figure 2. It is obvious that
there is no distinct exothermic heat, upon first heating step. It can be concluded that all
samples were fully cured. However, the FTIR results showed traces of epoxide in both
epoxy-rubber blend and epoxy nanocomposite systems, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 2 DSC graph of cured (a) epoxy (b) epoxy-5MG30 (c) epoxy-530B and
(d) epoxy-5MG30-530B

Upon cooling to 20C, it can be observed the peaks of exothermic with stages.
These peaks can indicate different structures of amorphous and crystalline formation,
suggesting that all samples are polymorphism.
Figure 3 The DSC analysis shows the glass transition temperature with enthalpy of relaxation
(a) during the first heating step and (b) during second heating step
Temperature (C)

(a)
Notes: 1: Epoxy, 2: Epoxy-5MG30, 3: Epoxy-530B and 4: Epoxy-5MG30-530B.









52 N.Y. Yuhana et al.












Figure 3 The DSC analysis shows the glass transition temperature with enthalpy of relaxation
(a) during the first heating step and (b) during second heating step (continued)
Temperature (C)

(b)
Notes: 1: Epoxy, 2: Epoxy-5MG30, 3: Epoxy-530B and 4: Epoxy-5MG30-530B.
The glass transitions of cured unmodified and modified epoxies were measured and are
illustrated in Figures 3(a)3(b). The studied parameters are the onset of glass transition
(T
g
), the inflection slope (m
g
) and the specific heat capacity increment (c
gp
), are given in
Table 2.
Table 2 The DSC analysis during first, second and third heating step
First heating Second heating Third heating
Onset of glass transition
temperature, T
g
[C]

Epoxy 62 81 83
Epoxy- 5MG30 63 80 84
Epoxy-530B 64 81 87
Epoxy-5MG30-530B 62 81 85
Inflection slope of glass
transition, m
g
[mW/min]

Epoxy 4.9 0.7 0.7
Epoxy- 5MG30 4.1 0.5 0.5
Epoxy-530B 2.5 0.5 0.7
Epoxy-5MG30-530B 3.4 0.5 0.5
The specific heat increment,
c
pg
at glass transition [J/gK]

Epoxy 0.45 0.34 0.45
Epoxy- 5MG30 0.73 0.50 0.47
Epoxy-530B 0.72 0.45 0.26
Epoxy-5MG30-530B 0.41 0.53 0.38
It can be seen from Figure 3(a) that the T
g
s starts at about 60C, for all samples with
enthalpy of relaxation during the first heating. The slightly higher values for the modified









Thermal and flexural properties of room-temperature cured PMMA 53












epoxies could be due to the ability of rubber and intercalated silicate to restrict the epoxy
network mobility. The T
g
s were increased by 20C, with the absence of relaxation
enthalpy for all samples in the second heating step, as shown in Figure 3 (b). This may be
attributed to the absence of volatiles in all samples, which may act as a plasticiser. During
the third heating step, the nanocomposite shows the highest T
g
, followed by ternary
system, as shown in Table 2. The higher value T
g
s could be related to restricted
segmental motions near the interface between the epoxy chain and Cloisite 30B. The
presence of rubber, however, does not give significant effect to the T
g
of the epoxy/rubber
blend. This may be ascribable to the presence of nano sized rubber, which can be
considered as dissolved rubber as illustrated in Figure 2(b). The ternary systems do not
show significant change in T
g
. Similar trend was obtained by Balakrishnan et al. (2005).
The inflection slope (m
g
) of DSC graph for glass transition process was unlikely
being reported in any literatures. The lower value of m
g
indicates the material is more
stable upon heating process. The first heating step show the highest value of m
g
,
compared to second and third heating steps, as given in Table 2. This may indicate the
high content of volatiles before heating process. The low value of m
g
s for modified
epoxies may suggest that the presence of rubber and silicate can disrupt the glass
transition process by restricting the epoxy network mobility. During the third heating
step, the m
g
for epoxy containing 5 phr Cloisite 30B is increased by 0.2 mW/min
compared to the one in the second heating step. There is a possibility that the chemical
modifier in Cloisite 30B has been decomposed during the third heating step, and can act
as plasticiser to fasten the glass transition process.
The specific heat increment value (c
gp
) can represent the increase in rubbery nature
of epoxy chain before and after glass transition process. During the first heating step, the
values are higher for epoxy nanocomposite and epoxy-rubber blend. This can be due to
the presence of unreacted epoxy and amine in both samples that could act as plasticisers
upon heating, as being proven by FTIR results. Rubber particles and the chemical
modifier of Cloisite 30B could also act as plasticisers to ease the chain mobility of epoxy.
At the second heating step, it can be seen that all modified epoxies have higher value in
c
gp
, compared with the neat epoxy, as given in Table 2. Nevertheless, during the third
heating step, the value of c
gp
is the lowest for epoxy containing 5 phr Cloisite 30B. This
can be attributed to rigidity of the epoxy nancomposite material.
3.3 Thermalgravimetric analysis
Figure 4 shows the TGA thermograms and derivative (DTG) curves of cured epoxy and
modified epoxies.
The volatilisation of low molecular weight molecules and polymer chain
decomposition weight loss were measured by TGA and are reported in Table 3. The
studied parameters during the two processes, are the onset temperature (T
v
or T
d
),
temperature at maximum rate (T
maxv
or T
maxd
), inflection slope value (m
v
or m
d
),
volatiles and char mass percentage (w
v
or w
d
), during volatilisation and polymer chain
decomposition respectively.
Table 3 shows a relatively higher T
v
and T
maxv
for epoxy-Cloisite 30B compared with
the other cured samples. The onset temperature of volatilisation, T
v
for epoxy containing
5 phr Cloisite 30 was about 40C higher than that of neat epoxy. This can be due to the
existence of intercalated silicate which could resist volatiles to escape from epoxy
networking by introducing tortuous path, as shown in Figure 2(a).









54 N.Y. Yuhana et al.












Figure 4 The graph of weight loss thermograms and the derivative (DTG) curves from TGA
analysis on cured samples

Table 3 TGA analysis result on volatilisation and polymer decomposition process
Onset
temperature
(C)
Temperature
at maximum
rate (C)
Inflection
slope value
(%/min)
Mass percentage
of volatiles,
w
v
or char, w
d
(%)
Parameters
T
v
T
d
T
maxv
T
maxd
m
v
( 10
3
) m
d
w
v
w
d

Epoxy 99 364 150 382 0.96 0.26 1.13 10.52
Epoxy-5MG30 99 362 156 381 1.32 0.24 1.75 9.48
Epoxy-530B 141 360 174 379 1.66 0.23 1.68 11.91
Epoxy-5MG30-530B 104 359 134 379 1.08 0.22 1.33 12.42
Chin et al. (2007) found that the onset of mass loss started at a lower temperature, could
be attributed to the presence of low molecular weight compounds that are volatile and
easily removed. These species may be related to the accelerator and/or to the differences
in curing agent formulation. The improvement in thermal stability of nanocomposites is
often mentioned to be due to the torturous path for volatile decomposition products.
Chena et al. (2006) suggested that the presence of inorganic nanofiller can produce more
thermally-stable material, as it reduces chemical bond movements of the organic
component.
The epoxy-Cloisite30B possesses the highest m
v
, showing the highest volatilisation
rate. This can be attributed to the presence of chemical modifier in Cloisite 30B that
degrades around 200C. Also, as being proven by FTIR results, the sample contains
unreacted epoxy. In the presence of MG30 rubber, there is a possibility that chemical
interaction or reaction occurs between the Cloisite 30B chemical modifier and rubber,
hence resulted the low value of m
v
.
The volatiles content is high for epoxy/rubber blend and epoxy/Cloisite 30B, which
can be due to the presence of unreacted epoxy. This was confirmed by FTIR analysis, as
shown in Figure 1. The w
v
however decreased for ternary system since the presence of
Cloisite 30B could resist the volatilisation process.










Thermal and flexural properties of room-temperature cured PMMA 55












The value of m
d
is low for all modified epoxies, show that the Cloisite 30B and
rubber could reduce the polymer chain decomposition, by introducing torturous path for
volatile decomposition products. However, they have slightly low T
d
and T
maxd
, in
comparison with the neat epoxy. This can be attributed to the possibility of catalytic
activity of the modifiers (MG30 rubber and Cloisite 30B) on the epoxy decomposition
process. The high char yield for epoxy/Cloisite30B, and toughened epoxy/Cloisite 30B
nanocomposites can indicate good thermal stability of the samples. According to Chiang
et al. (2007), the thermal stability of epoxy increased with the contents of inorganic
components, owing to the increased char.
3.4 Flexural properties
The stress-strain behaviour of the modified epoxies is shown in Figure 5. Clearly, the
addition of rubber and Cloisite 30B influence the stress-strain curve. The parameters
measured from the curve are maximum flexural stress, failure strain and flexural
modulus, as given in Figures 6 and 7.
It can be observed from Figure 6 that the flexural strength and failure strain of all
modified epoxies are lower than the neat epoxy. This can be due to the weak interfacial
interaction between the epoxy matrix and the modifiers (MG30 rubber and Cloisite 30B)
and the inhomogeneous network density. Interfacial adhesion between rubber particles
and the epoxy is weaker in the presence of Cloisite 30B, as will be shown in later.
Figure 5 Stress-strain curve of cured samples

Figure 6 The flexural strength and failure strain of cured samples











56 N.Y. Yuhana et al.












Figure 7 The flexural modulus of cured samples

Nanocomposites show the highest flexural modulus, as shown in Figure 7, which
indicates the rigidity of the samples. The increase in flexural modulus is mainly attributed
to the inherent stiffness of Cloisite 30B layers and the restriction of chain mobility. We
found that the modulus was not affected significantly by the presence of rubber, in the
ternary system.
4 Conclusions
The modified epoxies possess good thermal stability by having lower volatilisation and
polymer chain decomposition rate at the increased temperatures. Furthermore, the high
char yield content for epoxy/Cloisite 30B and rubber toughened epoxy/Cloisite 30B
nanocomposite show that they could be used as adhesive and coating materials with good
thermal stability properties. The onset temperature of volatilisation in the presence of
Cloisite 30B is increased by 40C than the neat epoxy, suggested Cloisite 30B as a good
barrier agent. However, the presence of chemical modifier in Cloisite 30B and rubber
particles in epoxy can affect the thermal stability of the blend by acting as plasticiser. It
seems that the presence of Cloisite 30B aggregates, as being observed in our previous
study does not reduce the thermal stability and the glass transition temperature
significantly. The intercalated structure of silicate can help to introduce tortuous path for
volatiles to escape the epoxy network, hence retarding the decomposition process. As
expected, the presence of Cloisite 30B increases the flexural modulus of epoxy/silicate
nanocomposite and rubber toughened epoxy/silicate nanocomposite. The SEM images of
the fractured samples proved the existence of multiple fracture paths for the two samples.
The poor adhesion between the rubber and epoxy phases in ternary blend was observed
by using TEM. This is one of the possible reasons for low flexural strength and failure
strain of the ternary blend, compared to neat epoxy. Significant improvement in thermal
and flexural properties is expected at higher curing temperature and better mixing
technique.
Acknowledgements
The authors would like to acknowledge help from Mr. Md. Yaakub Yasin,
Mr. Wan Mohd Nazir Bin Wan Taha and Mr. Mohd. Razif Maafol for their kind
assistance. Also, the authors wish to acknowledge Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia,
Malaysia Public Service Department (PSD) and the Ministry of Science, Technology and









Thermal and flexural properties of room-temperature cured PMMA 57












Innovation (MOSTI) for SLAI scholarship and Science Fund Grant (03-01-02-SF0059) to
conduct the research.
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