Victoria Bernardo a,⇑, Judith Martin-de Leon a, Miguel Angel Rodriguez-Perez a,b
a Cellular Materials Laboratory (CellMat), Condensed Matter Physics Department, University of Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain
b Instituto BIOECOUVA, Universidad de Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain
One strategy to produce nanocellular polymers is the use of nucleating species to promote nucleation. Whereas two-phase systems are widely studied, tri-phasic blends with two nucleating agents are uncommonly investigated. In this work, nanocellular polymers are obtained using tri-phasic blends of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) with two nucleating agents: needle-like sepiolites and a polymethylmethacrylate-polybutylacrylate-polymethylmethacrylate (MAM) block copolymer. Blends of PMMA with different concentrations of MAM and a fixed amount of sepiolites are produced by extrusion. Results show that at low MAM contents (1 wt%), the nucleation is a combination of the action of the two additives, but the addition of sepiolites induces the appearance of anisotropic structures. Meanwhile, at high MAM concentrations (10 wt%), MAM nanostructuration controls the nucleation and sepiolites increase the anisotropy. The alignment of the MAM micelles and the sepiolites in the extrusion direction promotes coalescence in this direction, leading to highly anisotropic nanocellular structures. Mean cell sizes of 100–300 nm and an average anisotropy ratio of 2.77 are obtained thanks to the combined effect of MAM and sepiolites.