Oil-based mud (OBM) waste from the oil and gas exploration industry can be valorised to tailor-made reclaimed clay-reinforced low-density polyethylene (LDPE) nanocomposites. This study aims to fill the information gap in the literature and to provide opportunities to explore the effective recovery and recycling techniques of the resources present in the OBM waste stream. Elemental analysis using inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) and X-ray fluorescence analysis, chemical structural analysis by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, and morphological analysis of LDPE/organo-modified montmorillonite (LDPE/MMT) and LDPE/OBM slurry nanocomposites by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) have been conducted. Further analysis including calorimetry, thermogravimetry, spectroscopy, microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray analysis and X-ray diffraction (XRD) was carried out to evaluate the thermo-chemical characteristics of OBM waste and OBM clay-reinforced LDPE nanocomposites, confirming the presence of different clay minerals including inorganic salts in OBM slurry powder. The microscopic analysis revealed that the distance between polymer matrix and OBM slurry filler is less than that of MMT, which suggests better interfacial adhesion of OBM slurry compared with the adhesion between MMT and LDPE matrix. This was also confirmed by XRD analysis, which showed the superior delamination structure OBM slurry compared with the structure of MMT. There is a trend noticeable for both of these fillers that the nanocomposites with higher percentage filler contents (7.5 and 10.0 wt% in this case) were indicated to act as a thermal conductive material. The heat capacity values of nanocomposites decreased about 33% in LDPE with 7.5 wt% MMT and about 17% in LDPE with 10.0 wt% OBM slurry. It was also noted, for both nanocomposites, that the residue remaining after 1000°C increases with the incremental wt% of fillers in the nanocomposites. There is a big difference in residue amount (in %) left after thermogravimetric analysis in the two nanocomposites, indicating that OBM slurry may have significant influence in decomposing LDPE matrix; this might be an interesting area to explore in the future. The results provide insight and opportunity to manufacture waste-derived renewable nanocomposites with enhanced structural and thermal properties.
- Oil-based mud
- resource recovery waste characterisation
- polymer nanocomposites
- thermal degradation study