Dispersions of Surface-Modified Carbon Nanotubes in Water-Soluble and Water-Insoluble Polymers


  • This project was supported by the (CNT) Thematic European network on “Carbon Nanotubes for Future Industrial Composites” (EU), the Minerva Foundation, and the G.M.J. Schmidt Minerva Centre of Supramolecular Architectures, and the Israel Science Foundation (Grant # 290/02). H. D. Wagner is the recipient of the Livio Norzi Professorial Chair.


Microscale aggregate formation, resulting from high intrinsic filler attractions, is one of the major issues in nanocomposite preparation and processing. Herein, the dispersive effects achieved by a wide range of surface-active agents, as well as surface oxidation and functionalization, are investigated. The aim of our research is to form a uniform, multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWNT) distribution in water-soluble (poly(ethylene glycol)) and water-insoluble (polypropylene) polymers. In order to understand the surface-charge-related stability of the treated nanotubes solutions, zeta-potential measurements are applied. Quantification of the state of the MWNT dispersion is derived from particle-size analysis, while visual characterization is based on optical and electron microscopy. To estimate the nucleating ability of the surface-modified carbon nanotubes, the temperature of crystallization and the degree of crystallinity are calculated from differential scanning thermograms. Finally, we suggest general guidelines to produce uniform MWNT dispersions using a dispersive agent and/or surface treatment in water-soluble and water-insoluble polymers.