Influence of trace amount of well-dispersed carbon nanotubes on structural development and tensile properties of polypropylene

Peng Liu, Kevin L. White, Hiroaki Sugiyama, Jiang Xi, Takeshi Higuchi, Taiki Hoshino, Ryohei Ishige, Hiroshi Jinnai, Atsushi Takahara, Hung Jue Sue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Functionalized multiwalled carbon nanotubes (F-MWCNTs) were individually dispersed in a commercial polypropylene (PP) matrix using our well-established α-zirconium phosphate (ZrP) nanoplatelet-assisted dispersion approach. The F-MWCNTs remained uniformly dispersed in PP after melt mixing and injection-molding and were found to remarkably enhance modulus and strength at only 0.1 wt % loading. The individual F-MWCNTs were mostly oriented and extended in the flow direction and were shown to be integrated within the crystalline structure of the matrix. The change in mechanical properties is attributed to both the modification in crystal structure due to MWCNT-induced nucleation and the direct reinforcement of crystalline lamellae and amorphous regions by the MWCNTs. We propose that the compatibilized F-MWCNTs exhibit sufficient interfacial interaction with the PP matrix to anchor lamellae stacks and resist interlamellar slip. The F-MWCNTs also reinforce amorphous domains between crystallites and behave as "super"-tie chains, thereby achieving improvement in tensile properties at low MWCNT loading. This approach for nanocomposite preparation is scalable and easily adapted for other thermoplastics by proper MWCNT surface functionalization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-473
Number of pages11
JournalMacromolecules
Volume46
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jan 22

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry

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