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Dynamic electrical properties of polymer-carbon nanotube composites: Enhancement through covalent bonding

  • Seamus A. Curran (a1), Donghui Zhang (a2), Wudyalew T. Wondmagegn (a3), Amanda V. Ellis (a4), Jiri Cech (a5), Siegmar Roth (a5) and David L. Carroll (a6)...

Abstract

Composite formation between carbon nanotubes and polymers can dramatically enhance the electrical and thermal properties of the combined materials. We have prepared a composite from polystyrene and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) and, unlike traditional techniques of composite formation, we chose to polymerize styrene from the surface of dithiocarboxylic ester-functionalized MWCNTs to fabricate a unique composite material, a new technique dubbed “gRAFT” polymerization. The thermal stability of the polymer matrix in the covalently linked MWCNT-polystyrene composite is significantly enhanced, as demonstrated by a 15 °C increase of the decomposition temperature than that of the noncovalently linked MWCNT-polystyrene blend. Thin films made from the composite with low MWCNT loadings (<0.9 wt%) are optically transparent, and we see no evidence of aggregation of nanotubes in the thin film or solution. The result from the conductivity measurement as a function of MWCNT loadings suggests two charge transport mechanisms: charge hopping in low MWCNT loadings (0.02–0.6 wt%) and ballistic quantum conduction in high loadings (0.6–0.9 wt%). The composite exhibits dramatically enhanced conductivity up to 33 S m−1 at a low MWCNT loading (0.9 wt%).

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Corresponding author

a) Address all correspondence to this author. e-mail: shay@physics.nmsu.edu

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Dynamic electrical properties of polymer-carbon nanotube composites: Enhancement through covalent bonding

  • Seamus A. Curran (a1), Donghui Zhang (a2), Wudyalew T. Wondmagegn (a3), Amanda V. Ellis (a4), Jiri Cech (a5), Siegmar Roth (a5) and David L. Carroll (a6)...

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