Solution impregnations, pulltrusion and film stacking are widely used methods to prepare thermoplastic composite materials. Extruders are used to melt the polymer and to incorporate fibers into the polymer in order to modify physical properties. In this article, the compounding of colloidal silica nanoparticles filled polyamide-6 (PA-6) is achieved using a twin-screw extruder, which has a significant market share due to its low cost and easy maintenance. The experiments were performed at 250 rpm and the bulk throughput was 6 kg h-1 with a pump pressure of 30 bars. The composites were characterized with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), wide angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). As determined by WAXD, the PA-6 showed higher amounts of -phase when compared to other synthesis methods such as in situ polymerization. TEM pictures showed that the silica particles aggregated nevertheless, upon addition of 14% (w/w) silica the E-modulus increased from 2.7 to 3.9 GPa indicating that an effective mechanical coupling with the polymer was achieved. The behavior, illustrated with dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) curves, indicated that in general when a filled system is compared to unfilled material, the values of the moduli (E and E) increased and tan decreased. Determination of molecular mass distribution of the samples by means of size exclusion chromatography (SEC) coupled to a refractive index (RI), viscosity (DV) and light scattering (LS) detector revealed that the addition of silica did not decrease the average molecular weight of the polymer matrix, which is of importance for composite applications.
de la Luz Garcia-Curiel, M. M., van Vliet, G., ten Cate, M. G. J., Chavez, F., Norder, B., Kooi, B. J., ... Blank, D. H. A. (2004). Large-scale extrusion processing and characterization of hybrid nylon-6/SiO2 nanocomposites. Polymers for advanced technologies, 15(4), 164-172. https://doi.org/10.1002/pat.458