Influence of Clay Concentration on the Gas Barrier of Clay–Polymer Nanobrick Wall Thin Film Assemblies Academic Article uri icon


  • The influence of the clay deposition suspension concentration on gas barrier thin films of sodium montmorillonite (MMT) clay and branched polyethylenimine (PEI), created via layer-by-layer assembly, was investigated. Films grown with MMT suspension concentrations ranging from 0.05 to 2.0 wt % were analyzed for their growth as a function of deposited polymer-clay bilayers (BL) and their thickness, clay concentration, transparency, nanostructure, and oxygen barrier as a function of the suspension concentration. The film thickness doubles and the visible light transmission decreases less than 5% as a function of MMT concentration for 20-BL films. Atomic force and transmission electron microscope images reveal a highly aligned nanobrick wall structure, with quartz crystal microbalance measurements revealing a slight increase in the film clay concentration as the MMT suspension concentration increases. The oxygen transmission rate (OTR) through these 20-BL composites, deposited on a 179 μm poly(ethylene terephthalate) film, decreases exponentially as a function of the MMT clay concentration. A 24-BL film created with 2.0 wt % MMT has an OTR below the detection limit of commercial instrumentation (<0.005 cc/m(2)·day·atm). This study demonstrates an optimal clay suspension concentration to use when creating LbL barrier films, which minimizes deposition steps and the overall processing time.

author list (cited authors)

  • Priolo, M. A., Holder, K. M., Gamboa, D., & Grunlan, J. C.

publication date

  • January 1, 2011 11:11 AM