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Aspect ratio effects of multi-walled carbon nanotubes on electrical, mechanical, and thermal properties of polycarbonate/MWCNT composites



Two multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) having relatively high aspect ratios of 313 and 474 with approximately the same diameter were melt mixed with polycarbonate (PC) in a twin-screw conical micro compounder. The effects of aspect ratio on the electrical, mechanical, and thermal properties of the PC/MWCNT composites were investigated. Electrical conductivities and storage moduli of the filled samples are found to be independent of the starting aspect ratio for these high aspect ratio tubes; although the conductivities and storage moduli are still significantly higher than values of composites made with nanotubes having more commercially common aspect ratios of ∼100. Transmission electron microscopy results suggest that melt-mixing reduces these longer nanotubes to the same length, but still approximately two times longer than the length of commercially common aspect ratio tubes after melt-mixing. Molecular weight measurements show that during melt-mixing the longer nanotubes significantly degrade the molecular weight of the polymer as compared to very similar nanotubes with aspect ratio ∼100. Because of the molecular weight reduction glass transition temperatures predictably show a large decrease with increasing nanotube concentration. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part B: Polym. Phys. 2014, 52, 73–83

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