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Keywords:

  • single-walled carbon nanotubes;
  • free radical addition polymerization;
  • covalent functionalization;
  • ionomer;
  • graft copolymer

A facile and efficient covalent functionalization of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) via peroxide-mediated free radical covalent attachment and polymerization of zirconium acrylate is reported. The resulting covalently functionalized SWCNTs exhibit improved solubility in organic solvents. The covalently functionalized SWCNTs are characterized by cross polarization magic angle spinning 13C NMR, differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis, x-ray diffraction, Raman, and infrared spectroscopy. Infrared spectroscopy reveals that carboxylate groups of covalently attached ionomers chelate with zirconium ions and the participating carboxylate groups may be from different ionomer chains leading to cross-linking the chains. The SWCNT topology, ionic clustering, and π-electron clouds were explored by transmission electron microscopy. © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 60: 820–828, 2014