Characterization of pure and silver exchanged natural zeolite filled polypropylene composite films
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In the present study, untreated and silver exchanged natural zeolite-polypropylene (PP) composites were prepared and characterized by means of different techniques (TGA, DSC, mechanical tests, density measurements, optical microscopy and colorometer). The effects of zeolite loading and silver concentration on the composite properties were investigated. The thermal characterization studies showed that the addition of the zeolite increased the crystallinity of the composites acting as a nucleating agent in PP crystallization and retarded the degradation of PP. At low silver concentrations, the zeolite behaved as a decelerating agent in PP degradation, however at higher silver concentrations, the composites degraded at a faster rate than pure PP. The experimental densities of the composites were found to be lower than the theoretical densities. When the tensile tested samples are considered, the densities were even lower indicating porous structure of the films. From the optical micrographs of the tensile tested films, it was clearly seen that the stretching along the machine direction caused hole formation around the particles. The optimum conditions obtained in this study for the PP-silver zeolite composite film production are in the range of 2-4 wt% zeolite treated with 4.36 mg Ag+/g zeolite. At higher zeolite loadings, the film becomes brittle and at higher Ag+ concentrations, the film produced was discolored.