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Isotactic polypropylene/carbon nanotube composites prepared by latex technology: electrical conductivity study

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Author: Grossiord, N. · Wouters, M.E.L. · Miltner, H.E. · Lu, K. · Loos, J. · Mele, B.V. · Koning, C.E.
Type:article
Date:2010
Institution: TNO Industrie en Techniek
Source:European Polymer Journal, 9, 46, 1833-1843
Identifier: 409295
Keywords: Electronics · Electrical conductivity · Percolation threshold · Aqueous suspensions · Electrical percolation threshold · Electrical property · Intrinsic conductivity · Isotactic polypropylene · Low viscosity · Multi-Wall Carbon Nanotubes · Nanotube composites · Nucleating effect · Polymer latices · Semicrystallines · Systematic study · Amorphous carbon · Electric properties · Latexes · Multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCN) · Nanocomposites · Nanotubes · Percolation (computer storage) · Percolation (fluids) · Percolation (solid state) · Polypropylenes · Polystyrenes · Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCN) · Solvents · Suspensions (fluids) · Electric conductivity of solids · High Tech Systems & Materials · Industrial Innovation · Mechatronics, Mechanics & Materials · HOL - Holst · TS - Technical Sciences

Abstract

Several series of nanocomposites were prepared using a latex-based process, the main step of which consisted of mixing an aqueous suspension of exfoliated carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and a polymer latex. In the present work, a systematic study on the electrical properties of fully amorphous (polystyrene - PS) as well as semi-crystalline (isotactic polypropylene - iPP) nanocomposites containing either single-wall (SWCNTs) or multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) has been conducted. Percolation thresholds as low as 0.05 wt.% or 0.1 wt.% were observed for SWCNT/iPP and MWCNT/iPP nanocomposites, respectively. The formation of a conductive percolating network at such a low CNT concentration is favored by the high intrinsic conductivity and the low viscosity of the polymer matrix. The electrical percolation threshold of the iPP-based system was found to be lower than its rheological percolation threshold. Beyond the percolation threshold, MWCNT-based nanocomposites generally exhibited higher conductivity levels than those based on SWCNTs, most probably due to the higher intrinsic conductivity of the MWCNTs as compared to that of the SWCNTs. These excellent electrical properties, associated with the strong nucleating effect of the CNTs reported earlier [1,2], render this type of nanocomposites extremely attractive from a technological point of view. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.