• carbon nanotube;
  • nanocomposites;
  • radical polymerization


Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA)/single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) composites were synthesized by the grafting of PMMA onto the sidewalls of SWNTs via in situ radical polymerization. The free-radical initiators were covalently attached to the SWNTs by a well-known esterification method and confirmed by means of thermogravimetric analysis and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy were used to image the PMMA–SWNT composites; these images showed the presence of polymer layers on the surfaces of debundled, individual nanotubes. The PMMA–SWNT composites exhibited better solubility in chloroform than the solution-blended composite materials. On the other hand, compared to the neat PMMA, the PMMA–SWNT nanocomposites displayed a glass-transition temperature up to 6.0°C higher and a maximum thermal decomposition temperature up to 56.6°C higher. The unique properties of the nanocomposites resulted from the strong interactions between the SWNTs and the PMMA chains. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011