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Influence of carbon nanotube clustering on the electrical conductivity of polymer composite films

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Journal: eXPRESS Polymer Letters
ISSN 1788-618X

Volume: 4;
Issue: 5;
Start page: 292;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Polymer composites | Electrical conductivity | MWCNT | percolation | clustering

ABSTRACT
Electrical conductivity of 150–200 µm thick polysulfone films loaded with 0.05–0.75% w/w multiwall carbon nanotubes was systematically investigated for two types of dispersion states, uniformly dispersed and agglomerated at the micro-scale. The percolation threshold was found at 0.11% and 0.068% w/w for the uniformly dispersed and agglomerated films, respectively. Overall, the conductivity of the films with agglomerated nanotubes was higher than that of the uniformly dispersed ones, with marked differences of 2 to 4 orders of magnitude for carbon nanotubes loadings in the upper vicinity of the percolation threshold (0.1–0.3% w/w). The increased conductivity of the agglomerated state is explained by the increased nanotube-to-nanotube contact after the percolating network has formed, which facilitates electron transfer.
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