Synergistic effects of carbon fillers on tensile and flexural properties in liquid-crystal polymer based resins

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One emerging market for thermally and electrically conductive resins is bipolar plates for use in fuel cells. Adding carbon fillers to thermoplastic resins increases the composite thermal and electrical conductivity. These fillers have an effect on the composite tensile and flexural properties, which are also important for bipolar plates. In this study, various amounts of three different types of carbon (carbon black, synthetic graphite particles, and carbon fibers) were added to Vectra A950RX liquid-crystal polymer. In addition, composites containing combinations of fillers were also investigated via a factorial design. The tensile and flexural properties of the resulting composites were then measured. The objective of this study was to determine the effects and interactions of each filler with respect to the tensile and flexural properties. The addition of carbon black caused the tensile and flexural properties to decrease. Adding synthetic graphite partides caused the tensile and flexural modulus to increase. The addition of carbon fiber caused the tensile and flexural modulus and ultimate flexural strength to increase. In many cases, combining two different fillers caused a statistically significant effect on composite tensile and flexural properties at the 95% confidence level. For example, when 40 wt % synthetic graphite particles and 4 wt % carbon black were combined, the composite ultimate tensile and flexural strength increased more than what would be expected from the individual additive effect of each single filler. It is possible that linkages were formed between the carbon black and synthetic graphite particles that resulted in improved ultimate tensile and flexural strength. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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Journal of Applied Polymer Science