ζ-Caprolactam was polymerized in the interlayer spacing of montmorillonite, a clay mineral, yielding a nylon 6-clay hybrid (NCH) 1).
X-ray and TEM measurements revealed that each template of the silicate, which is 10 Å thick, was dispersed in the nylon 6 matrix and that the repeat unit increased from 12 Å in unintercalated material to 21 Å in the intercalated material.
Thus NCH, is a “polymer based molecular composite” or “nanometer composite”. NCH, when injection-molded, shows excellent properties as compared to nylon 6 in terms of tensile strength, tensile modulus and heat resistance. Heat distortion temperature increased from 65 °c for nylon 6 to 152 °c for NCH, containing 4 wt% (1.6 vol%) of clay mineral.