2007 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show - Nanotech 2007 - 10th Annual

A latex-based concept for obtaining carbon nanotube-polymer nanocomposites

N. Grossiord, J. Meuldijk, J. Loos, P. van der Schoot, O. Regev, J. Hart, L.C. van Laake, H.E. Miltner, B. van Mele and C.E. Koning
Technical University of Eindhoven, NL

Keywords:
latex, carbon nanotube, conductiuve nanocomposite, wetting, dispersion, optimization process, improvement properties

Abstract:
By using a latex-based technology, it is possible to efficiently disperse both single and multi wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs and MWNTs) within most of the polymers that are produced by emulsion polymerization, or that can be brought into the form of an emulsion. The first step of the process consists of exfoliating NTs in an aqueous surfactant solution. This step can be monitored by UV-Vis spectroscopy. Four experimental techniques have been developed in order to determine the minimum amount of surfactant, which is necessary to reach the highest degree of exfoliation of the NTs. The key step of this process is the mixing a stable dispersion of NTs covered by surfactant molecules with a polymer latex. In the nanocomposites obtained using this concept, preponderantly individualized NTs are homogeneously dispersed into the polymer matrix. This leads to the obtaining of conductive nanocomposites with a percolation threshold of about 0.3wt% of SWNTs in a high molecular weight polystyrene (PS) produced by free radical emulsion polymerization. Several procedures were explored in order to improve the properties of the materials, like tuning the characteristics (molecular weight and particle size distribution) of the polymer matrix.

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