Morphological, electrical and electromagnetic interference shielding characterization of vapor grown carbon nanofiber/polystyrene nanocomposites

Authors

  • Mohammed H Al-Saleh,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, Jordan University of Science and Technology, PO Box 3030, Irbid 22110, Jordan
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  • Uttandaraman Sundararaj

    1. Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4
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Mohammed H Al-Saleh, Department of Chemical Engineering, Jordan University of Science and Technology, PO Box 3030, Irbid 22110, Jordan. E-mail: mhsaleh@just.edu.jo

Abstract

The influence of melt mixing conditions on the level of dispersion and the aspect ratio of vapor grown carbon nanofibers (VGCNFs) in a polystyrene (PS) matrix was studied. Final electrical and electromagnetic shielding capabilities in the 0.05–1.5 GHz frequency range are reported and discussed in the light of the composites' microstructure. The morphological study was based on analyzing scanning electron microscopy and optical microscopy micrographs and measuring the VGCNF length as a function of shear mixing conditions. The influence of mixing conditions on the microstructure was also indirectly studied by analyzing the dynamic mechanical behavior of the composites via rheology. Degradation of the VGCNF aspect ratio was found to be a function of the mixing energy. VGCNFs lost one-third of their aspect ratio under gentle (low shear stress and mixing energy) mixing conditions. After VGCNFs had lost 40% of their aspect ratio, they had more resistance to breakage with increase in mixing energy. The dispersion of the VGCNFs was remarkably enhanced with increase in mixing energy. The percentage of area taken up by big agglomerates in the micrographs decreased from 14.1% to 5.5% when the mixing energy was increased from 100 J mL−1 to 453 J mL−1. The electrical and electromagnetic shielding properties of the 7.5 vol% VGCNF/PS composites were not affected by changing the processing energy because the enhancement of VGCNF dispersion with increasing mixing energy was accompanied by a loss in nanofiber aspect ratio. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry

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