Silicate minerals have been found to improve physical and mechanical properties of polymers significantly through clay/polymer nanocomposites. This class of materials uses smectite-type clays, such as hectorite, montmorillonite, magadiite, and synthetic mica, as fillers to enhance the properties of polymers. One of the most important properties of smectite-type clays is their layered structure, in which each layer is constructed from tetrahedrally coordinated Si atoms fused into an edge-shared octahedral plane of either Al(OH)3 or Mg(OH)2. The layers exhibit excellent mechanical properties parallel to the layer direction due to the nature of the bonding between these atoms. It has been found that Young’s modulus in the layer direction is 50 to 400 times higher than that of a typical polymer [1–5]. The layers have a high aspect ratio and each one is approximately 1 nm thick, while the diameter may vary from 30 nm to several microns or larger. Hundreds or thousands of these layers are stacked together with weak van der Waals forces to form a clay particle. With such a configuration, it is possible to tailor clays into various different structures in polymer [1,6,7].

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