Dispersion Improvement of Carbon Nanotubes in Epoxy Resin Using Amphiphilic Block Copolymers
Interface between Carbon NanoTubes (CNT) and epoxy matrix is admitted to play an important role in the dispersion quality and in the mechanical stress transfer. To improve the interfacial adhesion, we propose to chemically graft molecules onto CNT surface. To achieve this chemical modification, a controlled radical polymerization, named Nitroxide Mediated Polymerization NMP, is used to synthesize a diblock copolymer based on Acrylic Acid (PAA block) and Methyl MethAcrylate (PMMA block). In the present paper, this polymerization is performed “in situ”. The PAA block presents a good affinity with the CNT which enable grafting. The PMMA miscibility with epoxy is expected to give a good adhesion - between the CNT and the matrix - and to bring a better dispersion. In order to compare the chemical modification and the physical adsorption of the copolymers onto CNT dispersion, the same block copolymer was synthesized with and without CNT. The copolymer synthesis was controlled and characterized by different methods as NMR 1H (conversion and composition), SEC (molecular weight) and TGA (grafting density). We show that the better dispersion quality and better physical properties have been obtained with grafted CNT.
A.-C. Courbaron Gilbert et al., "Dispersion Improvement of Carbon Nanotubes in Epoxy Resin Using Amphiphilic Block Copolymers", Advanced Materials Research, Vol. 112, pp. 29-36, 2010