Polymer nanocomposites based on clay minerals have attracted the attention of several research groups, due to the unique properties observed for these materials. The high performance of these systems arises from the combination of the high specific surface area of nano-sized particles, specific interactions between the organic and inorganic and degree of dispersion achieved by the particle into the polymer matrix. In this context, the use of surfactants based on quaternary ammonium salts are widely adopted in order to achieve the best compatibility between the phases, since the chemical affinity between the polymer matrix (hydrophobic) and lamellar clay mineral (hydrophilic), as montmorillonite, is inherently low. However, these organic salts have low thermal stability under certain processing conditions, such as extruders and injection molding processes. Consequently, the nanoparticle dispersion and cohesion of the polymer matrix can be dramatically affected, resulting in the disappearance of the expected properties. Because of its high thermal stability, salts of ionic liquids can be an interesting alternative to the traditional use of quaternary ammonium salts in order to improve the interactions between the components in polymer nanocomposites.
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