BACKGROUND: Conductive polymer composites (CPCs) can be obtained by filling polymer matrices with electrically conductive particles, and have a wide variety of potential applications. In the work reported, the biodegradable polymer poly(lactic acid) (PLA) as a partially miscible blend with poly(propylene carbonate) (PPC) was used as a polymer matrix. Carbon black (CB) was used as the conducting filler.
RESULTS: Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy revealed interactions between matrix and CB filler; this interaction was stronger in PPC-blend-CB than in PLA-blend-CB composites. A rheology study showed that low-viscosity PPC could improve the fluidity of the CPCs, but decrease that of CB. With increasing CB content, the enforcement effect, storage modulus and glass transition temperature increased, but the elongation at break decreased. CPCs exhibited the lowest electrical percolation thresholds of 1.39 vol.% CB when the content of PPC in PLA-blend-PPC was 40 wt%. The conductivity of CPCs containing 5.33 vol.% CB and 40 wt% PPC reached 1.57 S cm−1. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that CB exhibits a preference for dispersion in the low-viscosity phase (PPC) of the multiphase matrix.
CONCLUSION: In the presence of CB, partially miscible PLA-blend-PPC could form multi-percolation CPCs. Moreover, the combination of PLA and PPC with CB broadens novel application of both renewable polymers and CPCs. Copyright © 2008 Society of Chemical Industry