Electrical and thermal conductivity and tensile and flexural properties of carbon nanotube/polycarbonate resins

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Adding conductive carbon fillers to insulating thermoplastic polymers increases the resulting composite's electrical conductivity. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are very effective at increasing composite electrical conductivity at low loading levels without compromising composite tensile and flexural properties. In this study, varying amounts (2-8 wt %) of CNTs were added to polycarbonate (PC) by melt compounding, and the resulting composites were tested for electrical conductivity (1/electrical resistivity), thermal conductivity, and tensile and flexural properties. The percolation threshold was less than 1.4 vol % CNT, likely because of CNTs high aspect ratio (1000). The addition of CNT to PC increased the composite electrical and thermal conductivity and tensile and flexural modulus. The 6 wt % (4.2 vol %) CNT in PC resin had a good combination of properties for electrical conductivity applications. The electrical resistivity and thermal conductivity were 18 Ω-cm and 0.28 W/m • K, respectively. The tensile modulus, ultimate tensile strength (UTS), and strain at UTS were 2.7 GPa, 56 MPa, and 2.8%, respectively. The flexural modulus, ultimate flexural strength, and strain at ultimate flexural strength were 3.6 GPa, 125 MPa, and 5.5%, respectively. Ductile tensile behavior is noted in pure PC and in samples containing up to 6 wt % CNT. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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Journal of Applied Polymer Science