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Kinetics of filler wetting and dispersion in carbon nanotube/rubber composites

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4543-4556
Number of pages14
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


The effects of the surface modification of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) by an ionic liquid, 1-butyl 3-methyl imidazolium bis(trifluoromethyl- sulphonyl)imide (BMI) on the kinetics of filler wetting and dispersion as well as resulting electrical conductivity of polychloroprene (CR) composites were studied. Two different MWCNTs were used, Baytubes and Nanocyl, which differ in their structure, purity and compatibility to CR and BMI. The results showed that BMI can significantly improve the macrodispersion of Baytubes, and increases the electrical conductivity of the uncured BMI-Baytube/CR composites up to five orders of magnitude. In contrast, the use of BMI slows the dispersion process and the development of conductivity of BMI-Nanocyl/CR composites. Our wetting concept was further developed for the quantification of the bound polymer on the CNT surface. We found that the bonded BMI on the CNT surface is replaced by the CR molecules during mixing as a result of the concentration compensation effect. The de- and re-agglomeration processes of CNTs taking place during the subsequent curing process can increase or decrease the electrical conductivity significantly. The extent of the conductivity changes is strongly determined by the composition of the bound polymer and the curing technique used.

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