A potential advantage of platelet-like nanofillers as nanocomposite reinforcements is the possibility of achieving two-dimensional stiffening through planar orientation of the platelets. The ability to achieve improved properties through in-plane orientation of the platelets is a challenge and, here, we present the first results of using forced assembly to orient graphene nanoplatelets in poly(methyl methacrylate)/polystyrene (PMMA/PS) and PMMA/PMMA multilayer films produced through multilayer coextrusion. The films exhibited a multilayer structure made of alternating layers of polymer and polymer containing graphene as evidenced by electron microscopy. Significant single layer reinforcement of 118% at a concentration of 2 wt % graphene was achieved-higher than previously reported reinforcement for randomly dispersed graphene. The large reinforcement is attributed to the planar orientation of the graphene in the individual polymer layers. Anisotropy of the stiffening was also observed and attributed to imperfect planar orientation of the graphene lateral to the extrusion flow.
- Forced assembly