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Crystalline polymer decoration on multiwalled carbon nanotubes: MWCNT-induced P4VP periodic crystallization in CO2-expanded liquids

Journal: eXPRESS Polymer Letters
ISSN 1788-618X

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 60;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Polymer composites | polymer crystallization | CO2-expanded liquid

This work reports the functionalization of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) with crystalline poly(4- vinylpyridine) (P4VP) in CO2-expanded liquids (CXLs). The structure and morphology of MWCNT-induced polymer crystallization are examined, with the focus on molecular weight of P4VP (MW-P4VP), the pressure of CXLs and the concentration of P4VP. First, it is observed that the crystallization morphologies for the P4VP/MWCNTs composite with a low molecular weight P4VP (LMW-P4VP) matrix could be finely controlled in CXLs, and it is surprising to find that the P4VP8700 wrapping patterns undergo a morphological evolution from dot crystals to dotted helical wrappings, and then to dense helical patterns by facile pressure tuning under lower polymer concentration. In other words, the CXLs method enables superior control of the P4VP crystallization patternings on MWCNTs, particularly efficient for LMW-P4VP at lower polymer concentration. Meanwhile, the CXL-assisted P4VP crystal growth mechanism on MWCNT is investigated, and the dominating growth mechanism is attributed to 'normal epitaxy' at lower P4VP concentration rather than 'soft epitaxy' at higher concentration. We believe that this work reports a new crystalline polymer wrapping approach in CXLs to noncovalent engineering of MWCNTs surfaces.
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