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Facile way to disperse single-walled carbon nanotubes using a noncovalent method and their reinforcing effect in poly(methyl methacrylate) composites

Authors

  • Xiaoqing Liu,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 62 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 637459, Singapore
    • School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 62 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 637459, Singapore
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  • Mary B. Chan-Park

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 62 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 637459, Singapore
    • School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 62 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 637459, Singapore
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Abstract

In this work, a noncovalent method was used to functionalize and thereby disperse single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) in dimethylformamide with poly[methyl methacrylate-co-(fluorescein O-acrylate)] as a surfactant, and then the resultant poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA)-based nanocomposites were fabricated via solution casting. The dispersion level of carbon nanotubes in the solvent was investigated by means of scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy. The results showed that carbon nanotubes were well wrapped by the surfactant, and small carbon nanotube bundles several nanometers or less in diameter and several micrometers in length were obtained. Both scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy confirmed the uniform dispersion of SWCNTs in the PMMA matrix. The mechanical properties of the composites were determined with a universal tension tester. The PMMA composite containing 2 wt % SWCNTs showed improved tensile properties versus neat PMMA, showing 56 and 30% enhancements of the tensile modulus and tensile stress, respectively. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009

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