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Kasaliwal, G. ; Göldel, A. ; Pötschke, P. ; Heinrich, G.
Influences of polymer matrix melt viscosity and molecular weight on MWCNT agglomerate dispersion

In order to study the influence of melt viscosity and molecular weight on nanotube dispersion and electrical volume resistivity, three different polycarbonates (PCs) varying in molecular weight were melt compounded with 1 wt% multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs, Baytubes® 150 HP) using a small-scale compounder. The experiments were performed at constant melt temperature but at varying mixing speeds, thereby applying different magnitudes of shear stress. Light transmission microscopy was used to access the state of agglomerate dispersion, and electrical resistivities of the composites were measured on pressed plates. The results indicate that with increasing matrix viscosity the agglomerate dispersion gets better when using constant mixing conditions but worse considering comparable shear stress values. To study the effect of molecular weight, in a second set of experiments melt temperatures were adjusted so that all PCs had similar viscosity and mixing was performed at constant mixing speed. As investigated on two viscosity levels, the composites based on the low molecular weight matrix showed smaller sized un-dispersed primary agglomerates as compared to composites with higher molecular weight matrices, highlighting the role of matrix infiltration into primary nanotube agglomerates as the first step of dispersion. The resistivity values of composites prepared using low viscosity matrices were lower than those of composites from high viscosity matrix.

Source
Polymer 52

Pages
1027-1036

DOI
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.polymer.2011.01.007

Published
November 2011
 
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Functional Nanocomposites and Blends

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