The Effect of Agglomeration on the Electrical and Mechanical Properties of Polymer Matrix Nanocomposites Reinforced with Carbon Nanotubes

Sebastian Tamayo-Vegas*, Ali Muhsan, Chang Liu, Mostapha Tarfaoui, Khalid Lafdi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

In this work, we investigated the effect of carbon nanotubes addition and agglomeration formation on the mechanical and electrical properties of CNT–polymer-based nanocomposites. Six specimens with carbon nanotubes (CNTs) fractions of 0%, 0.5%, 1%, 2%, 4% and 5% were manufactured and characterized by dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) and four-probe method. The stress–strain curves and electrical conductivity properties were obtained. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to characterize both agglomeration and porosity formation. By employing micromechanics, through representative volume element (RVE), finite element analysis (FEA) and resistor network model (RNM), the Young’s modulus and electrical conductivity values were calculated. The samples’ elastic moduli showed an increment, reaching the maximum value at a CNTs fraction of 2%, thereafter an adverse effect was caused in the high CNT percentage samples. The final electrical conductivity seemed greatly altered with the addition of CNTs, reaching the percolation threshold at 2%. The unavoidable formation of CNT agglomerates appeared to influence the final physical properties. The CNT agglomerates adversely affect the mechanical performance of high-CNT-percentage samples. Conversely, an exponential increment in the electrical conductivity was presented as the agglomerates formed networks allowing the transport of electrons through the tunnelling effect. These phenomena were experimentally and numerically confirmed, showing a good correlation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1842
Number of pages18
JournalPolymers
Volume14
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2022

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