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McClory, C. ; McNally, T. ; Baxendale, M. ; Pötschke, P. ; Blau, W. ; Ruether, M.
Electrical and rheological percolation of PMMA/MWCNT nanocomposites as a function of CNT geometry and functionality

Composites of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) with multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) of varying aspect ratio and carboxylic acid functionality were prepared using melt mixing. The extent of dispersion and distribution of the MWCNTs in the PMMA matrix was investigated using a combination of high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), wide-angle X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Raman spectroscopy. The electrical resistivity and oscillatory shear rheological properties of the composites were measured as a function of MWCNT geometry, functionality, and concentration. The fundamental ballistic conductance of the pristine free-standing MWCNTs was investigated using a mechanically controlled break-junction method. The electrical conductivity of PMMA was enhanced by up to 11 orders of magnitude for MWCNT concentrations below 0.5 wt.%. MWCNTs having higher aspect ratio, above 500, or functionalized with carboxylic acid groups readily formed rheological percolated networks with thresholds, determined from a power law relationship, of 1.52 and 2.06 wt.%, respectively. The onset of pseudo-solid-like behaviour and network formation is observed as G', ·*, and tan d-1 are independent of frequency as MWCNT loading increased. Sufficiently long and/or functionalized tubes are required to physically bridge or provide interfacial interactions with PMMA to alter polymer chain dynamics. Carboxylic acid functionalization disrupts the crystalline order of MWCNTs due to a loss of p-conjugation and electron de-localisation of sp2 C–C bonds resulting in non-ballistic electron transport in these tubes, irrespective of how highly dispersed they are in the PMMA matrix.

European Polymer Journal 46



Erschienen am
April 2010

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