A Molecular Mechanism for Toughening and Strengthening Waterborne Nanocomposites (pages 90–94)
T. Wang, C.-H. Lei, D. Liu, M. Manea, J. M. Asua, C. Creton, A. B. Dalton and J. L. Keddie
Version of Record online: 11 DEC 2007 | DOI: 10.1002/adma.200700821
A high molecular-weight polymer – not a small molecule or surfactant – is superior for dispersing carbon nanotubes in water when processing a waterborne, polymeric nanocomposite. A polymeric dispersant above its entanglement molecular weight creates a brush structure on the nanotube that increases molecular friction on entangles with the matrix, yielding increased adhesion energy, as shown, along with greater toughness and energy dissipation during deformation. A dispersant can thereby be used to tune a nanocomposite's mechanical properties.