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Organisation of clay nanoplatelets in a polyelectrolyte-based hydrogel

Abstract : We investigate the organisation of clay nanoplatelets within a hydrogel based on modified ionenes, cationic polyelectrolytes forming physically crosslinked hydrogels induced by hydrogen bonding and - stacking. Combination of small angle X-ray and neutron scattering (SAXS, SANS) reveals the structure of the polyelectrolyte network as well as the organisation of the clay additives. The clay-free hydrogel network features a characteristic mesh-size between 20 and 30 nm, depending on the polyelectrolyte concentration. Clay nanoplatelets inside the hydrogel organise in a regular face-to-face stacking manner, with a large repeat distance, following rather closely the hydrogel mesh-size. The presence of the nanoplatelets does not modify the hydrogel mesh size. Further, the clay-compensating counterions (Na+, Ca2+ or La3+) and the clay type (montmorillonite, beidellite) both have a significant influence on nanoplatelet organisation. The degree of nanoplatelet ordering in the hydrogel is very sensitive to the negative charge location on the clay platelet (different for each clay type). Increased nanoplatelet ordering leads to an improvement of the elastic properties of the hydrogel. On the contrary, the presence of dense clay aggregates (tactoids), induced by multi-valent clay counterions, destroys the hydrogel network as seen by the reduction of the elastic modulus of the hydrogel.
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Submitted on : Monday, September 27, 2021 - 9:59:18 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 11:52:52 AM

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Claire Hotton, Juliette Sirieix-Plénet, Guylaine Ducouret, Thomas Bizien, Alexis Chennevière, et al.. Organisation of clay nanoplatelets in a polyelectrolyte-based hydrogel. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Elsevier, 2021, 604, pp.358-367. ⟨10.1016/j.jcis.2021.07.010⟩. ⟨hal-03342976⟩

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