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Carbon Nanotubes and Nanocomposites for Electrical and Thermal Applications

  1. Wei Wang,
  2. Fushen Lu,
  3. Lucia Monica Veca,
  4. Mohammed J. Meziani,
  5. Xin Wang,
  6. Li Cao,
  7. Lingrong Gu,
  8. Ya-Ping Sun

Published Online: 15 DEC 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781119951438.eibc0320

Encyclopedia of Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry

How to Cite

Wang, W., Lu, F., Veca, L. M., Meziani, M. J., Wang, X., Cao, L., Gu, L. and Sun, Y.-P. 2011. Carbon Nanotubes and Nanocomposites for Electrical and Thermal Applications. Encyclopedia of Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2011


The extraordinary electrical and thermal properties of individual carbon nanotubes have prompted predictions on their potentials for ultimately forming polymeric nanocomposites. A significant barrier for the predicted nanocomposites is the severe bundling and insolubility of carbon nanotubes. Chemical modification and functionalization have been demonstrated as being effective in the debundling and solubilization of carbon nanotubes for their homogeneous dispersion into polymer matrices for desired high-quality nanocomposites. More elegant is the approach to use polymers that are structurally identical or maximally similar to the matrix polymers in the nanotube functionalization to ensure full compatibility of the functionalized nanotubes with the corresponding polymer matrix. Several representative examples are presented, along with discussion on the benefits and issues concerning the polymeric nanocomposites thus obtained. For superior electrical properties, there is experimental evidence suggesting that the nanotube dispersion in the polymer matrix plays an important role. More promising is the use of separated metallic carbon nanotubes for a much enhanced performance in conductive nanocomposites and in related applications, such as transparent conductive films. For highly thermal conductive polymeric nanocomposites, on the other hand, the feasibility of using carbon nanotubes to achieve the desired performance has yet to be convincingly demonstrated experimentally. Nevertheless, the available results do suggest significant effects of the nanotube dispersion and alignment on thermal conductivities of the nanocomposites.


  • carbon nanotubes;
  • polymeric nanocomposites;
  • functionalization;
  • matrix functionalization;
  • dispersion;
  • electrical conductivity;
  • nanotube separation;
  • metallic SWNTs;
  • thermal conductivity;
  • alignment