NSTI Nanotech 2009

Towards SWCNT-based high performance materials

B. Simard, C. Kingston, Y. Matinez-Rubi, J. Guan, R. Anderson, S. Denommee, D. Ruth, M. Barnes, H. Dayan
National Research Council Canada, CA

Keywords: SWCNT, composites


Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) exhibit the best mechanical, thermal and electrical properties of any known material. Coupled with their very large aspect ratios, SWCNT are the ultimate enhancer of composite properties. Unfortunately, this potential has not fully concretised yet due to issues related to supply and quality, dispersion, and chemical inertness. In order to ensure that the full potential of SWCNT is exploited, the variables in every step of the overall integration process must be controlled. Excellent reproducibility is required in the synthesis, purification, dispersion, chemical functionalization and integration. The presentation will focus on each of these steps and show our unique capabilities. With the Université de Sherbrooke, we have developed a continuous and reproducible thermal plasma process for the large-scale synthesis of SWCNT. The process is fully scalable and is currently capable of producing SWCNT at the rate of 2g/min, thus easily making 1 kg in a normal working day. The quality of the raw material is surpassing commercially available raw materials and the material can be readily purified for integration in various matrices. It is now widely accepted that chemistry is central to the development of high performance materials based on SWCNT. Chemistry can solve the problems associated with bundles and the lack of binding with the matrices. We have developed various novel, scalable and fully controllable functionalization strategies based upon dispersion and side-wall chemical functionalization of reduced and neutral SWCNT. We have integrated these “primed” SWCNT into thermoset and thermoplastic resins, and in various ceramics. Each of these subjects will be discussed and supported with data whenever possible. The presentation will focus on each of these steps and show that SWCNT can yield materials with accrued properties.
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