Influence of clay concentration on gas barrier of clay-polymer nanobrick wall thin film assemblies

The influence of the clay deposition suspension concentration on gas barrier thin films of odium montmorillonite (MMT) clay and branched polyethylenimine (PEI), created via layer-by-layer assembly, was investigated. Films grown with MMT suspension concentrations ranging from 0.05 to 2.0 wt % were analyzed for their growth as a function of deposited polymerclay bilayers (BL) and their thickness, clay concentration, transparency, nanostructure, and oxygen barrier as a function of the suspension concentration. The film thickness doubles and the visible light transmission decreases less than 5% as a function ofMMTconcentration for 20-BL films. Atomic force and transmission electron microscope images reveal a highly aligned nanobrick wall structure, with quartz crystal microbalance measurements revealing a slight increase in the film clay concentration as the MMT suspension concentration increases. The oxygen transmission rate (OTR) through these 20-BL composites, deposited on a 179 μm poly(ethylene terephthalate) film, decreases exponentially as a function of the MMT clay concentration. A 24-BL film created with 2.0 wt % MMT has an OTR below the detection limit of commercial instrumentation (<0.005 cc/m2 3 day 3 atm). This study demonstrates an optimal clay suspension concentration to use when creating LbL barrier films, which minimizes deposition steps and the overall processing time.

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Priolo, MA; Holder, KM; Gamboa, D; Grunlan, JC;  Langmuir 2011, 27, 12106-12114.

Published in Langmuir 2011 / Thin Films