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Pötschke, P. ; Bhattacharyya, A.R. ; Janke, A.
Melt mixing of polycarbonate with multiwalled carbon nanotubes: microscopie studies on the state of dispersion

The focus of the paper is to investigate several issues related to the state of dispersion of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) in a polycarbonate (PC) matrix. A masterbatch of PC-MWNT (15 wt.%) was diluted with different amounts of PC in a small scale conical twin screw extruder (DACA Micro Compounder) to obtain different compositions of MWNT. In this system, electrical measurements indicated percolation of MWNT between 1.0 and 1.5 wt.%. We report TEM and AFM investigations of the state of dispersion of MWNT, in the entire volume of the matrix, in selected composites with compositions below (1 wt.% MWNT) and above the percolation threshold (2 and 5 wt.% MWNT). In addition, it was investigated if surface segregation of MWNT and flow induced orientation of nanotubes within the extruded strands had been occurred. It is found that the nanotubes dispersed uniformly through the matrix showing no significant agglomeration in the compositions studied. TEM micrographs seem to be able to detect the percolated structure of the carbon nanotubes. Furthermore, by comparing AFM micrographs from the core region and near to surface region no evidence of segregation or depletion of MWNT at the surface of the extruded strand was found. Comparison of TEM and AFM micrographs on surfaces cut along and perpendicular to the strand direction led to the conclusion that no preferred alignment had occurred as a result of extrusion. Aside from TEM technique, AFM is shown to be suitable to characterize the state of nanotube dispersion along with the issue of surface segregation and orientation of the nanotubes. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

European Polymer Journal 40



January 2004


Nanostructured Materials