Morphological and mechanical properties of carbon-nanotube-reinforced semicrystalline and amorphous polymer composites

Cadek, M.; Coleman, J. N.; Barron, V.; Hedicke, K.; Blau, W. J.
December 2002
Applied Physics Letters;12/30/2002, Vol. 81 Issue 27, p5123
Academic Journal
In this work, multiwalled carbon nanotubes were investigated as potential mechanical reinforcement agents in two hosts, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and poly(9-vinyl carbazole) (PVK). It was found that, by adding various concentrations of nanotubes, both Young's modulus and hardness increased by factors of 1.8 and 1.6 at 1 wt % in PVA and 2.8 and 2.0 at 8 wt % in PVK, in reasonable agreement with the Halpin-Tsai theory. Furthermore, the presence of the nanotubes was found to nucleate crystallization of the PVA. This crystal growth is thought to enhance matrix-nanotube stress transfer. In addition, microscopy studies suggest extremely strong interfacial bonding in the PVA-based composite. This is manifested by the fracture of the polymer rather that the polymer-nanotube interface.


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