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Keywords:

  • Carbon nanotube composites;
  • Carbon nanotubes, functionalized;
  • Surface functionalization

Abstract

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.