Preparation and Characterization of Pure PVA and PVA/MMT Matrix: Effect of Thermal Treatment
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Preparation and Characterization of Pure PVA and PVA/MMT Matrix: Effect of Thermal Treatment

Authors: Albana Hasimi, Edlira Tako, Partizan Malkaj, Elvin Çomo, Blerina Papajani, Mirela Ndrita, Ledjan Malaj


Many endeavors have been exerted during the last years for developing new artificial polymeric membranes, which fulfill the demanded conditions for biomedical uses. One of the most tested polymers is Poly(vinyl alcohol) [PVA]. Our teams are based on the possibility of using PVA for personal protective equipment against COVID-19. In personal protective equipment, we explore the possibility of modifying the properties of the polymer by adding Montmorillonite [MMT]. Heat-treatment above the glass transition temperature is used to improve mechanical properties mainly by increasing the crystallinity of the polymer, which acts as a physical network. Temperature-Modulated Differential Scanning Calorimetry (TMDSC) measurements indicated that the presence of 0.5% MMT in PVA causes a higher Tg value and shaped peak of crystallinity. Decomposition is observed at two of the melting points of the crystals during heating 25-240 oC and overlap of the recrystallization ridges during cooling 240-25 oC. This is indicative of the presence of two types (quality or structure) of polymer crystals. On the other hand, some indication of improvement of the quality of the crystals by heat-treatment is given by the distinct non-reversing contribution to melting. Data on sorption and transport of water in PVA films: PVA pure and PVA/MMT matrix, modified by thermal treatment are presented. The membranes become more rigid as a result of the heat treatment and because of this the water uptake is significantly lower in membranes. That is indicated by analysis of the resulting water uptake kinetics. The presence of 0.5% w/w of MMT has no significant impact on the properties of PVA membranes. Water uptake kinetics deviate from Fick’s law due to slow relaxation of glassy polymer matrix for all types of membranes.

Keywords: Crystallinity, montmorillonite, nanocomposite, poly(vinyl alcohol).

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