Intercalation of montmorillonites with a mixture of intercalates has not been studied extensively. The objective of the present investigation was to study the effects of phosphonium-based intercalate mixtures on the properties (organic loading and basal spacing) of montmorillonite. These phosphonium-intercalated montmorillonites are promising candidates as high-temperature stable nanofillers for application in clay polymer nanocomposites.
Two salts with different cationic heads and chain lengths were mixed in varying molar ratios and the mixtures were intercalated into the interlayer space of montmorillonite. Two sets were chosen based on the chain length and the cationic head-group structure of the two intercalated salts (referred to hereafter as set 1 and set 2). The resultant intercalated montmorillonite was characterized by thermogravimetric analysis, X-ray diffraction, and transmission electron microscopy. The organic loading of the intercalated montmorillonite increased with the proportion of longer carbon-chain intercalate in the mixture. The intensity of the characteristic XRD peak of each intercalate varied with the mole fraction percent of that intercalate in the solution mixture. No marked synergistic effect of the intercalate mixture on the basal spacing and organic loading properties of the intercalated montmorillonite was observed – the proportional influence of individual components was found to be more prominent.