A Facile Approach to Chemically Modified Graphene and its Polymer Nanocomposites

Authors

  • Izzuddin Zaman,

    1. School of Advanced Manufacturing and Mechanical, Engineering and Mawson Institute, University of South Australia, SA5095, Australia
    2. Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturing, University of Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, 86400 Batu Pahat, Malaysia
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  • Hsu-Chiang Kuan,

    1. Department of Energy Application Engineering, Far East University, Tainan County 744, Taiwan
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  • Qingshi Meng,

    1. School of Advanced Manufacturing and Mechanical, Engineering and Mawson Institute, University of South Australia, SA5095, Australia
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  • Andrew Michelmore,

    1. Mawson Institute, University of South Australia, SA5095, Australia
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  • Nobuyuki Kawashima,

    1. Mawson Institute, University of South Australia, SA5095, Australia
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  • Terry Pitt,

    1. School of Advanced Manufacturing and Mechanical, Engineering and Mawson Institute, University of South Australia, SA5095, Australia
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  • Liqun Zhang,

    1. Key Laboratory for Nanomaterials, Ministry of Education, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing 100029, China
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  • Sherif Gouda,

    1. School of Advanced Manufacturing and Mechanical, Engineering and Mawson Institute, University of South Australia, SA5095, Australia
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  • Lee Luong,

    1. School of Advanced Manufacturing and Mechanical, Engineering and Mawson Institute, University of South Australia, SA5095, Australia
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  • Jun Ma

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Advanced Manufacturing and Mechanical, Engineering and Mawson Institute, University of South Australia, SA5095, Australia
    2. Mawson Institute, University of South Australia, SA5095, Australia
    • School of Advanced Manufacturing and Mechanical, Engineering and Mawson Institute, University of South Australia, SA5095, Australia.
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Abstract

A scalable approach for the mass production of chemically modified graphene has yet to be developed, which holds the key to the large-scale production of stable graphene colloids for optical electronics, energy conversion, and storage materials, catalysis, sensors, composites, etc. Here, a facile approach to fabricating covalently modified graphene and its polymer nanocomposites is presented. The method involves: i) employing a common furnace, rather than a furnace installed with a quartz tube and operated in inert gas as required in previous studies, to treat a commercial graphite intercalation compound with thermal shocking and ultrasonication and fabricate graphene platelets (GnPs) with a thickness of 2.51 ± 0.39 nm that contain only 7 at% oxygen; ii) grafting these GnPs with a commercial, long-chain surfactant, which is able to create molecular entanglement with polymer matrixes by taking advantage of the reactions between the epoxide groups of the platelets and the end amine groups of the surfactant, to produce chemically modified graphene platelets (m- GnPs); and iii) solution-mixing m-GnPs with a commonly used polymer to fabricate nanocomposites. These m-GnPs are well dispersed in a polymer with highly improved mechanical properties and a low percolation threshold of electrical conductivity at 0.25 vol%. This novel approach could lead to the future scalable production of graphene and its nanocomposites.

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