The aim of the present contribution is to understand how ionic strength, brought by the addition of salt to laponite/PEO nanocomposite dispersions, influences the texture and adhesion characteristics at nano- and microscales in multilayered nanocomposite films prepared from such dispersions. At the nano-scale, SAXS and XRD measurements indicated that the clay platelets orient parallel to the film plane and that the polymer chains intercalate the clay platelets regardless of salt addition. A gradual transition from an agglomerated structure, containing polymer-rich and clay-rich domains, to a fine-balanced structure with smaller distinct details without excess PEO was observed, via AFM, on the exposed edges of cryomicrotomed films with increasing ionic strength.
Macromolecular Materials and Engineering Vol. 293, Issue 9, p. 771-780