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Keywords:

  • carbon nanotubes;
  • nanocomposites;
  • elastomers;
  • electrical properties;
  • mechanical properties;
  • Raman spectroscopy

Multiwall carbon nanotube-filled elastomers are prepared by solution blending using a sonication process. It is shown that the processing conditions have a strong effect on the composite properties especially on electrical properties, which are very sensitive to nanotube dispersion within the elastomeric matrix. The percolation threshold is seen to be shifted to a lower nanotube content than that previously reported. With regard to the unfilled elastomer, large increases in the elastic and tensile moduli are obtained with the nanotube loading, thus highlighting the potential of this type of particles as reinforcing fillers for elastomeric matrices. Raman spectroscopy under strain has been used to evaluate the strength of the polymer–filler interface. Weak interfacial interactions are deduced, but the debundling of the nanotubes and the orientational effects of the polymeric chains are observed when the composite is submitted to a uniaxial deformation. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.