Understanding the structure/property relations in polymer/clay nanocomposites is of great importance in designing materials with desired properties. Along these lines, a critical overview is attempted on the physical and molecular origins of material properties enhancements in polymer/clay hybrid nanocomposites. A comparative discussion of mechanical, thermal, optical, and ammability properties across various polymers focuses on those properties that are universally improved. In general, such properties originate from the nature of the layered inorganic fillers and from their nano-dispersion in a polymer. In contrast, other properties are determined by the particular/distinctive interactions between a specific polymer with the filler; such attributes can not be transfered from one polymer system to another. We shall try to distinguish between these two classes of properties, and provide some insight into which properties can be improved concurrently across a wide range of polymers.

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