Nonisothermal crystallization kinetics and thermomechanical properties of multiwalled carbon nanotube-reinforced poly(ε-caprolactone) composites

Authors

  • Guoyong Xu,

    Corresponding author
    1. Center of Modern Experimental Technology, Anhui University, Hefei 230039, People's Republic of China
    2. Anhui Zhongding Share Co. Ltd, Ningguo 242300, People's Republic of China
    • Center of Modern Experimental Technology, Anhui University, Hefei 230039, People's Republic of China
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  • Longchao Du,

    1. School of Chemistry & Chemical Engineering, Anhui University, Hefei 230039, People's Republic of China
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  • Hu Wang,

    1. Center of Modern Experimental Technology, Anhui University, Hefei 230039, People's Republic of China
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  • Ru Xia,

    1. School of Chemistry & Chemical Engineering, Anhui University, Hefei 230039, People's Republic of China
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  • Xiangchun Meng,

    1. Center of Modern Experimental Technology, Anhui University, Hefei 230039, People's Republic of China
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  • Qingren Zhu

    1. Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at the Microscale, Structure Research Laboratory, University of Science and Technology of China, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei 230026, People's Republic of China
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Abstract

BACKGROUND: The technological development of poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) is limited by its short useful lifespan, low modulus and high crystallinity. There are a few papers dealing with the crystallization behavior of carbon nanotube-reinforced PCL composites. However, little work has been done on the crystallization kinetics of melt-compounded PCL/multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWNT) nanocomposites. In this study, PCL/MWNT nanocomposites were successfully prepared by a simple melt-compounding method, and their morphology and mechanical properties as well as their crystallization kinetics were studied.

RESULTS: The MWNTs were observed to be homogeneously dispersed throughout the PCL matrix. The incorporation of a very small quantity of MWNTs significantly improved the storage modulus and loss modulus of the PCL/MWNT nanocomposites. The nonisothermal crystallization behavior of the PCL/MWNT nanocomposites exhibits strong dependencies of the degree of crystallinity (Xc), peak crystallization temperature (Tp), half-time of crystallization (t1/2) and Avrami exponent (n) on the MWNT content and cooling rate. The MWNTs in the PCL/MWNT nanocomposites exhibit a higher nucleation activity. The crystallization activation energy (Ea) calculated with the Kissinger model is higher when a small amount of MWNTs is added, then gradually decreases; all the Ea values are higher than that of pure PCL.

CONCLUSION: This paper reports for the first time the preparation of high-performance biopolymer PCL/MWNT nanocomposites prepared by a simple melt-compounding method. The results show that the PCL/MWNT nanocomposites can broaden the applications of PCL. Copyright © 2008 Society of Chemical Industry

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