Electrical conductivity and thermal stability of polypropylene containing well-dispersed multi-walled carbon nanotubes disentangled with exfoliated nanoplatelets Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The morphology, crystallization behavior, electrical conductivity, and thermal stability of polypropylene (PP) modified with disentangled multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) is reported. Slightly oxidized MWCNT clusters were disentangled in solution by mild sonication in the presence of exfoliated α-zirconium phosphate nanoplatelets. The disentangled MWCNTs were isolated using acid-induced coagulation to precipitate the nanoplatelets, and were subsequently reacted with octadecylamine. The recovered functionalized MWCNTs (F-MWCNTs) are disentangled and easily dispersed in a commercial PP matrix, and serve as more efficient nucleating agents than the untreated MWCNTs. The PP/F-MWCNT composites exhibit an extremely low percolation-like transition in electrical conductivity, which is attributed to the preservation of a random dispersion of disentangled F-MWCNTs upon cooling from the melt. The thermal stability of PP in air is also substantially enhanced at loadings below the percolation threshold due to the tremendous interfacial area between the polymer chains and the free radical scavenging F-MWCNTs. The present approach provides an efficient and potentially scalable route for commercial production of conductive semi-crystalline thermoplastics. The method may be adapted to uniformly disperse MWCNTs in other polymer matrices by appropriate selection of surface functionality. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

author list (cited authors)

  • Chu, C., White, K. L., Liu, P., Zhang, X. i., & Sue, H.

citation count

  • 55

publication date

  • October 2012

published in