- Original Paper
- Open Access
The research design of graphene inclusion on LDPE characterization
International Journal of Mechanical and Materials Engineering volume 14, Article number: 9 (2019)
A progressive trend in instructional materials is the analytical plan and manufacture of fundamental operating equipment. LDPE/Gr nanocompounds were researched using various techniques such as Raman spectra (RS), XRD, SEM, and TEM based on Gr distribution, morphology, and crystal structure. The results presented by SEM showed that the addition of Grs was distributed homogeneously in the LDPE matrix and improved the crystallinity of the LDPE/Gr nanocompounds. Inclusion of Grs to LDPE launches crystallization by reducing the activation energy accompanied by increasing crystallization. Gr distribution in LDPE has considerably enhanced the nucleation of LDPE crystallization in nanocompound LDPE/Gr. The crystallization rates clearly increased to 0.5 wt% and continued to rise up to 3 wt% with Gr loading. Adding Gr to LDPE makes LDPE/Gr nanocompounds develop crystallinity Gr as a nucleating agent advances the process of crystallization, the size of crystallite, and the percentage of LDPE/Gr crystallinity throughout the nanocompounds with an additional Gr to the polymer matrix. This research also demonstrates that by further incorporation of Gr in the LDPE matrix, the activation energy of crystallinity is lowered. The inclusion of Gr extends crystallinity level and simultaneously creates local nanocompound lattice uniformity.
Recent advancement in nanotechnology has driven attention to be focused on a specific type of material identified as polymer nanocompounds where nanodimensional fillers are added to a polymer framework to create mechanical and physical characteristics (Lia, Gonzáleza, Heeralala, & Wang, 2018; Papageorgiou et al., 2018; Sabet & Soleimani, 2017). Nanofiller is a significant factor in the growth of polymer properties and nanocompounds that are generally light with exclusive mechanical and accurate practical properties (Feng et al., 2018; Sabet & Soleimani, 2018; Xu, Liang, Xiaoling, Guisong, & Ding, 2018). The huge aspect ratio for nanofillers creates further contact between polymer links and nanofillers to develop complicated interfacial morphology once connected with pristine polymers (Feng et al., 2017; Sabet, Soleimani, Hassan, & Ratnam, 2014; Yuan et al., 2017). Gr’s true impact is prevented by accumulation resulting from its enormous surface area and aspect ratio and strong Van der Waals pulling energy between Gr layers (Huang et al., 2014a; Sabet, Hassan, & Ratnam, 2015/2013; Xu, Zhang, Xu, & Li, 2016). The accumulation of Gr therefore offers restricted contact with the polymer framework and weakened Gr’s efficient role in the polymer structure (Huang et al., 2014; Liu, Yan, Fang, & Wang, 2014; Sabet & Syafiq, 2013). Although this nanofiller is required to be consistently disseminated in polymers for the use of the massive surface zones of Grs, Grs will accumulate and the massive surface regions cannot be definitely accomplished. A number of tests have confirmed that adding a filler to a polymer with a nanodimensional size shows severe and concrete improvements in the final product’s physical, chemical, and mechanical characteristics compared to the similar filler status but in micro-dimensional size (Li et al., 2014; Sabet, Savory, Hassan, & Chantara, 2013; Wang, Wei, Qian, & Liu, 2014).
The differences between regular reinforcement and nanodimensional fillers are defined via a reduction in nanoparticles’ scales that raises contacts in interconnection with polymeric structure, generating so-called “nanoeffects” in nanocompound structures (Hong et al., 2014; Soleimani et al., 2015, 2016). For example, in several categorizations, a nanocompound filler with at least one nanometric dimension aspect is recognized: zero-dimensional, mono-dimensional, and bi-dimensional (Dittrich, Wartig, Hofmann, Mülhaupt, & Schartel, 2013; Maziyar, Hassan, & Hosseini, 2018; Sabet, Hassan, & Ratnam, 2013b). Gr is a 2D and single-sheet hybridized carbon sp2 configuration that has attracted the attention of many researchers due to associated outstanding characteristics, such as outstanding electrical conductivity, flame retardants, and magnificent mechanical and thermal stability (Dittrich et al., 2013; Huang, Chen, Liang, Wang, & Gao, 2013; Maziyar, Hassan, & Erfan, 2018). For several suitable materials (Huang et al., 2014c; Maziyar & Hassan, 2018; Woehrl, Ochedowski, Gottlieb, Shibasaki, & Schulz, 2014), the appropriate fantastic things in collaboration with the fundamental manufacturing and performing supply provides Grs with a wonderful nanofiller.
Grs’ thickness differs to a few nanometers, although the other sides are within the micron gauge range, affecting a notable aspect ratio and enormous surface area (2620–2960 m2/g for exclusively delaminated Gr). In contrast to nanoclays, Gr shows less mass density and, in relation to the lack of spreading electron phenomena, exposes an outstanding electrical and thermal conductivity due to sp2-hybridized carbon atom connections (Boyd et al., 2015; Kaindl et al., 2015; Sabet, Hassan, & Ratnam, 2013c). Gr-holding nanocompounds are used for various purposes, such as electronic and electrical fields (Sabet, Soleimani, & Seyednooroldin, 2016; Yimin, Yuzhou, Guoqiang, & Tieling, 2017; Zhou & Gao, 2017). In any professional laboratory, however, tremendously unique characteristics of Gr and Gr polymer nanocompounds are still being researched. If a Gr nanocompound structure is under stress, the stress transfers from polymer to Gr, causing a large crossing point area between polymer and Gr to reinforce nanocompound mechanical characteristics (Sabet & Soleimani, 2014; Zhou, Gui, Hu, Jiang, & Tang, 2016; Zhoup, Gui, & Hu, 2016). Gr nanocompounds appear to be more appropriate in operation than other standard fillers because they have a huge surface-to-volume ratio of 600–10,000 (Bengin, 2017; Chen, Ma, & Jiao, 2016; Liu, Fang, Yan, Chevali, & Wang, 2016). Grs’ 2D composition conveys a 2D path that proposes a huge link to the LDPE framework, which increases nanocompound thermal conductivity (Hosseini et al., 2015; Srinivasan, Francis, & Purushothaman, 2017; Vijayasarathi, Suresh, & Rajaram, 2016). For example, its molecular arrangement is not porous even for very small molecules similar to H2 or noble gasses, and it shields electromagnetic waves such as ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and microwaves. In addition, the mechanical features are amazing and confirmed Young’s module is about 1 TPa (Bettina, Karen, Daniel, Rolf, & Bernhard, 2013; Kuo et al., 2014; Sabet, Soleimani, & Seyednooroldin, 2019; Zhou, Ning, & Wang, 2015).
This research paper highlighted that Gr inclusions advance nucleation techniques in the preliminary crystallization stages recognized by decreasing active energy. Gr nanocompounds were also regarded to have wonderful oxygen penetration resistance due to cavity sizes at the Gr and LDPE interface, so Gr nano-based polymers could be used as a substitute material in the fabrication of gas tanks in the near future (Lia et al., 2018; Papageorgiou et al., 2018). The purpose of this research paper is to formulate, manufacture, and characterize additional inclusion of Grs in LDPE. LDPE is mainly used because of low price, excellent film manufacturing, excellent physical and chemical power, and harmlessness. In this study, it was found that the inclusion of Grs decreases the rate of decreasing crystallinity at upper temperatures in the LDPE structure, which was demonstrated by the energy activation experiment. The activation energy testing showed the rise in nanocompound relative crystallinity with the integration rate. Meanwhile, Gr’s incorporation expands the amount of crystallinity and develops local nanocompound lattice uniformity. LDPE is reusable, suitable for packing purposes, and is designated by way of a polymeric structure as a result of its substantial business significance. LDPE is also used primarily as an engineered thermoplastic for packaging purposes. This study attempts to advance knowledge in a Gr polymer composites region by examining the impact of Gr inclusion enhancement on certain features of LDPE/Gr nanocompounds for various applications.
LDPE in pellet form, category of LH0075, density of 0.921 g.cm−3, and a melt flow index of 0.89 g (10 min)−1, was secured from Bandar Imam Petrochemical Company (Iran). Graphene with purity higher than 98 wt%, size 2–10 μm, thickness, 1–3 nm, specific exterior contact, 500–700 m2 g−1, density of 5–10 mg/ml, and black color was bought from Nano-arrangemented and Amorphous Materials Incorporation.
LDPE-graphene nanocompounds are prepared by a Haake MinilabII, a mini-lab twin screw blender, at 190 °C for 10 min and a screw speed of 100 rpm due to the melt-compounding method. Graphene inclusion is modified at 0.5, 1, and 3 wt percent in each batch. Specimens are prepared for categorizations and examinations using a 190 °C carver press casting.
The morphology test was performed on the surface of samples using 25 KV scanning electron microscopy (SEM) (FEI, Quanta 200-ESEM). Specimens were covered for running SEM test using a lean conductive carbon layer. In order to evaluate the nanocompound structure, x-ray diffraction (XRD) was performed by Bruker D-2 phaser, made in Germany, with CuKα radiation (λ = 1.54 Å), 30 kV voltage, and 10 mA current. The scanning was performed with a 5°/min ratio from 5–80°. A JEM-200F (JEOL, Japan) transmission electron microscopy (TEM) with an accelerating voltage of 200 KV was used to find the setup of Gr and LDPE nanocompounds; ultra-fine powders were dispersed in alcohol by ultra-sonics and assembled by a particular TEM support film. Using 514 nm argon ion laser, Raman spectra (RS) was tested on Lab RAM-HR800 Spectrometer (Horiba, Japan). DSC-200F3 (Netzsch Geratebau GmbH, Germany) performed the DSC test. The specimens with a weight range of 2–4 mg were warmed up to 160 °C from − 40 °C with an increase of 10 (°C/min) in ambiance condition.
Results and discussion
Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 provide the physical-chemical characterization tests such as SEM, TEM, and XRD. The SEM shows the microstructure of the formed composite including the dubs of the nanosheets. XRD is used to identify nanocomposite, graphene, and LDPE crystalline material. Figure 1 exhibits the SEM figure of Gr that confirms a complete delamination at 1000 °C. It does not observe many wrinkles on the surface of the Gr layers. This particular surface structure helps to reduce accumulation and promotes its LDPE interfaces.
The SEM outcomes of pristine LDPE and Gr nanocompound are shown in Figs. 2, 3, and 4 with 3 wt% Gr. LDPE’s external face is a bit rough (Fig. 2), and with expanding preference, it reveals the upright direction. However, a direction is in connotation with an extended preference of 3.0 wt% for Gr nanocompound. Folded lamellar Gr is observed through the highly accurate LDPE/Gr 3.0 wt% SEM image, designated with red arrows in Fig. 4.
Figure 5 reveals the XRD results of pure Gr, LDPE, and different inclusion of Gr in LDPE nanocompounds. The nanosheet interlayer distance was determined using XRD data, and the results were obtained under the same conditions. The graphene nanosheet XRD pattern showed complete disappearance of the distinctive peaks, which can be explained in a monolayer by graphene exfoliation, leading in a new lattice structure. The XRD results reveal the high level of Gr accumulation due to its high specific surface area; this experience is shown in Fig. 5 as a wide-ranging weak diffraction peak nearby 26°. The peak at 26° associates in (002) of graphite. Two peaks at 2θ = 20.96° and 23.21° are assigned to (110) and (200) lattice planes of LDPE in nanocompounds. Increasing of Gr inclusion shows a stronger peak; consequently, adding Gr delivers extending crystallinity of Gr nanocompounds. In contrast with LDPE, crystallite dimension and crystallinity of LDPE/Grs are improved. The peaks (1 and 2) of Gr nanocompound 0.5 wt% are stronger than the relevant one for LDPE (Fig. 5) which identify that Gr inclusion not only magnifies the level of crystallinity but also get better the local lattice arrangement of Gr nanocompounds.
Figure 6 offers the TEM result for Gr. The Gr films unevenly have bent at the surface. The pertinent distinctive surface structure expedites the level of decreasing accumulations and supports the interactions in LDPE structure.
Gr segments are consistently detached in LDPE, since no obvious accumulation is monitored in the TEM image. The clear lattice borderlines available in Fig. 7 validate the proper spreading of Gr in LDPE structure. In pure graphene, since it was exfoliated, no peak is observed by XRD. But when it was mixed with LDPE, a new peak is observed at 26° which is due to the re-aggregation of graphene sheets. In Fig. 7, where graphene shows agglomerates, TEM confirms this observation.
Figure 8 exhibits a Raman shift of Gr, LDPE, and Gr nanocompound. By giving a demonstration of RS on Gr, the flow arrangement at 1355 cm−1 and in the phase vibration of sp2 carbon atoms at 1590 cm−1 are revealed. The 2D bands of Gr disappear on account of particular disarray and weakness of Gr. The key characteristics of chemical bond in polyethylene are carbon–carbon extending at 1067 cm−1 and 1128 cm−1, H–C–H rotating at 1295 cm−1, H–C–H mixing at 1441 cm−1, and C–H extending vibration at 2800–2900 cm−1. The polyethylene link is disclosed through the presence of a C–H group. Raman shifts of Gr nanocompound with 3 wt% hold the characteristic peak points of Gr and LDPE that shows the proper combination of either LDPE or graphene.
Figure 9 exhibits the reduction of activation energy, various degrees of conversion, and Gr inclusion. The energy of activation is a dynamic factor that is relevant to the crystallization of LDPE and correlated with the energy demand for a transmission of crystalline links in LDPE structure. There are also other factors like static factor which have been studied on energy obstruction and nucleation process (Papageorgiou et al., 2018; Xu et al., 2016). The energy of effective activation modifies in different temperatures and different degrees of conversion in solid-state kinetics which might be as a result of the variation in reaction medium or a number of actions involved in the technique.
Figures 9 and 10 confirm that Gr inclusion either affects in the elevation of crystallinity of LDPE nanocompounds or decrease of activation energy. Consequently, the relative crystallinity of LDPE nanocompounds increase as the amount of Gr inclusion increases too. Figure 10 reveals that Gr inclusion, as a nucleating agent, enhances the percentage of crystallization through nanocompound structures. The most intense peaks with appropriate widths were displayed in the characterization tests. The peak of the Gr and also the peak of the composite (Gr + LDPE) were intense, more like phase transformations occurred, from one phase to another, which shows the amorphous phase of LDPE and the crystalline phase of (Gr + LDPE) composites. However, there must have been at some point the temperature of the transition-vitreous, in the occurrence transformation from one temperature to another, especially in the polymer matrix. When the Gr was inserted in the polymer matrix, a higher crystallization occurred, which contributed strongly to the beginning of the nucleation process.
Figure 11 indicates that the variations of relative crystallinities of LDPE nanocompounds depend on the temperature alterations and Gr inclusion. Figure 11 exhibits while temperature reduces the level of crystallinity of LDPE nanocompounds increases due to non-isothermal nature of this process (Woehrl, Ochedowski, Gottlieb, Shibasaki, & Schulz, 2014; Xu,Liang, Xiaoling, Guisong, & Ding, 2018; Xu, Zhang, Xu, & Li, 2016; Yimin, Yuzhou, Guoqiang, & Tieling, 2017; Yuan et al., 2017; Zhou, & Gao, 2017; Zhou, Gui, Hu, Jiang, & Tang, 2016; Zhou, Ning, & Wang, 2015; Zhoup, Gui, & Hu, 2016). Non-isothermal crystallization takes place at a lesser temperature (122–20 °C) and the rate of growing crystal varies due to various Gr content (0–3 wt%) in LDPE nanocompounds. This phenomenon is justified due to the existence of Grs in polymer structure which delays the trend of crystallinity reduction in LDPE nanocompounds at higher temperatures. These findings are in line with previous DSC results (Sabet et al., 2019) showing how the addition of Grs to LDPE nucleates crystallization by decreasing activation energy along with increasing onset temperature of crystallization. The inclusion of Gr expanded crystallinity, improved the local lattice order of LDPE/Grs, and advanced Grs’ contact with LDPE.
The preparation and characterization of the LDPE/Gr nanocompounds was shown in this research. Gr was spread in LDPE to generate Gr nanocompounds. Little inclusion of Gr (0.5–3.0 wt percent) was recognized as having a superior impact on LDPE characteristics. The combination of Grs and LDPE reduces the activation energy for crystallization considerably and grows nucleation. In LDPE/Gr nanocompounds, there was a significant nucleation improvement based on lower crystallite dimensions and superior kinetics of crystallization. With the inclusion of Grs up to 3 wt% in the LDPE structure, the high crystallinity was achieved. XRD testing was performed to evaluate Gr nanocompounds and outcomes and certify semi-crystalline LDPE setup with spotted peak, as well as the distance between various Gr nanofiller films. With the incorporation of Grs in the LDPE structure, the amplitude of the spotted peak rises. The incorporation of Grs decreases the rate of falling crystallinity at higher temperatures in the LDPE structure, which was demonstrated by the energy activation experiment. The activation energy testing exhibited the increase in relative crystallinity of nanocompounds with the level of Gr inclusion. Meanwhile, Gr’s incorporation both expands the crystallinity level and develops the uniformity of nanocompounds in the local lattice. This designed method gave an idea for the preparation of composites of graphene/thermoplastic polymer. It can, therefore, be concluded from the present study that, in order to guarantee the adequate improvement of the mechanical characteristics of the graphene-enhanced LDPE nanocomposites, the Grs need to be optimally dispersed by having a strong mutual long-range interaction. Using graphene as a nanofiller has created a new dimension for producing lightweight, low cost, and high-performance composite materials for a variety of applications.
Availability of data and materials
All data analyzed during this study are available from the corresponding author on request.
Scanning electron microscopy
Transmission electron microscopy
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The authors are thankful to acknowledge UTP and UTB for the characterization results.
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Sabet, M., Soleimani, H. The research design of graphene inclusion on LDPE characterization. Int J Mech Mater Eng 14, 9 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40712-019-0106-5
- Low-density polyethylene