Electrical conductivity of carbon-filled polypropylene-based resins

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Adding conductive carbon fillers to insulating thermoplastic resins increases composite electrical conductivity. Often, as much of a single type of carbon tiller is added to achieve the desired conductivity and still allow 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 nanotubes) were added to polypropylene resin. The resulting single-filler composites were tested for electrical resistivity (1/electrical conductivity). The effects of single fillers and combinations of the different carbon fillers were studied via a factorial design. The percolation threshold was 1.4 vol % for the composites containing only carbon black, 2.1 vol % for those containing only carbon nanotubes, and 13 vol % for those containing only synthetic graphite particles. The factorial results indicate that the composites containing only single fillers (synthetic graphite followed closely by carbon nanotubes and then carbon black) caused a statistically significant decrease in composite electrical resistivity. All of the composites containing combinations of different fillers had a statistically significant effect that increased the electrical resistivity. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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Journal of Applied Polymer Science