Effects of carbon fillers on the rheology of highly filled liquid-crystal polymer based resins

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Adding conductive carbon fillers to insulating resins increases the composite electrical and thermal conductivity. Often, enough of a single type of carbon filler is added to achieve the desired conductivity while still allowing the material to be molded into a bipolar plate for a fuel cell. In this study, various amounts of three different carbons (carbon black, synthetic graphite particles, and carbon fiber) were added to Vectra A950RX liquid-crystal polymer. The rheological properties of the resulting single-filler composites were measured. In addition, the rheological properties of composites containing combinations of different carbon fillers were studied via a factorial design. In all cases, the viscosity increased with increasing filler volume fraction and followed a shear-thinning power-law model. The factorial design results indicated that each of the single fillers and all the filler combinations caused a statistically significant increase in the composite viscosity when compared at a shear rate of 500 s-1 or at a stress of 105 Pa. For composites containing synthetic graphite particles and/or carbon fiber, the viscosity variation with the volume fraction of carbon followed a modified Maron-Pierce equation. When compared at a constant volume fraction of carbon, composites containing carbon black showed viscosity enhancement above and beyond that shown by the other composites. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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Journal of Applied Polymer Science