Nano Archive

Cellular structures of carbon nanotubes in a polymer matrix improve properties relative to composites with dispersed nanotubes

Mu, Minfang and Walker, Amanda M. and Torkelson, John M. and Winey, Karen I. (2008) Cellular structures of carbon nanotubes in a polymer matrix improve properties relative to composites with dispersed nanotubes. POLYMER, 49 (5). pp. 1332-1337.

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A new processing method has been developed to combine a polymer and single wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) to form electrically conductive composites with desirable theological and mechanical properties. The process involves coating polystyrene (PS) pellets with SWCNTs and then hot pressing to make a contiguous, cellular SWCNT structure. By this method, the electrical percolation threshold decreases and the electrical conductivity increases significantly as compared to composites with well-dispersed SWCNTs. For example, a SWCNT/PS composite with 0.5 wt% nanotubes made by this coated particle process (CPP) has an electrical conductivity of similar to 3 x 10(-4) S/cm, while a well-dispersed composite made by a coagulation method with the same SWCNT amount has an electrical conductivity of only similar to 10(-8) S/ cm. The rheological properties of the composite with a macroscopic cellular SWCNT structure are comparable to PS, while the well-dispersed composite exhibits a solid-like behavior, indicating that the composites made by this new CPP are more processable. In addition, the mechanical properties of the CPP-made composite decrease only slightly, as compared with PS. Relative to the common approach of seeking better dispersion, this new fabrication method provides an important alternative means to higher electrical conductivity in SWCNT/polymer composites. Our straightforward particle coating and pressing method avoids organic solvents and is suitable for large-scale, inexpensive processing using a wide variety of polymers and nanoparticles. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:single wall carbon nanotube; polymer nanocomposite; polystyrene
Subjects:Material Science > Functional and hybrid materials
Material Science > Nanofabrication processes and tools
Physical Science > Nano objects
ID Code:2431
Deposited By:Farnush Anwar
Deposited On:07 Jan 2009 16:08
Last Modified:22 Jan 2009 12:14

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