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Menzer, K. ; Krause, B. ; Boldt, R. ; Kretzschmar, B. ; Weidisch, R. ; Pötschke, P.
Percolation behaviour of multiwalled carbon nanotubes of altered length and primary agglomerate morphology in melt mixed isotactic polypropylene-based composites

The effect of ball milling on the structural characteristics and further on the dispersion and percolation behaviour of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) in melt mixed composites using a maleic anhydride modified isotactic polypropylene as matrix was investigated. TEM and SEM revealed that ball milled nanotubes were considerably shorter and showed a compact primary agglomerate morphology compared to the as-synthesised MWCNTs. At macro scale ball milled MWCNTs were found to be better dispersed, whereas at sub-micron scale the states of dispersion of both nanotube materials were comparable. The differences in the composite morphologies as well as in the composites electrical and rheological percolation behaviour were assigned to the altered MWCNT structure due to ball milling treatment. The dispersibility of ball milled MWCNTs was restricted due to their more compact agglomerate morphology. Furthermore, the ability to form percolated network structures was restrained by their shorter length and, again, their compact primary agglomerates. An effective agglomerate interaction radius depending on the nanotube structural characteristics, length and agglomerate morphology, is suggested in order to explain the experimental findings.

Composites Science and Technology 71



October 2011