Exfoliation of layered silicate facilitated by ring-opening reaction of cyclic oligomers in PET-clay nanocomposites

Sang Soo Lee, Young Tae Ma, Hee Woo Rhee, Junkyung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Ethylene terephthalate cyclic oligomers (ETCs) have been successfully polymerized to a high molecular weight poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) employing the advantages of the low viscosity of cyclic oligomers and lack of chemical emissions during polymerization. Using ring-opening polymerization of ETCs with organically modified montmorillonite (OMMT), we intend to ascertain the possibility of preparing high performance PET/clay nanocomposites. Due to the low molecular weight and viscosity, ETCs are successfully intercalated to the clay gallerys, what is evidenced by XRD showing a down-shift of basal plane peak of layered silicate along with TEM investigation. Subsequent ring-opening polymerization of ETCs in-between silicate layers yielded a PET matrix of high molecular weight along with high disruption of layered silicate structure and homogeneous dispersion of the latter in the matrix. Although co-existence of exfoliation and intercalation states of silicate layers after polymerization of ETCs rather than perfect exfoliation was observed, a dramatic increase in d-spacing along with fast polymerization presents us a great potential of cyclic oligomer process in producing a thermoplastic polymer-clay nanocomposites of extremely well-dispersed silicate nanoplatelets and the corresponding high performances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2201-2210
Number of pages10
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Mar 10

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was kindly supported by a grant from the Center for Advanced Materials Processing (CAMP) of the 21st Century Frontier R&D Program funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Korea, and an internal grant of KIST. Experiments on XRD were supported in part by MOST, Korea and the Pohang Acceleration Laboratory.


  • Cyclic oligomer
  • Nanocomposite
  • Ring-opening polymerization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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