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Open AccessArticle

Sonication-Induced Modification of Carbon Nanotubes: Effect on the Rheological and Thermo-Oxidative Behaviour of Polymer-Based Nanocomposites

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Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, Ambientale, Aerospaziale, dei Materiali, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, Ed. 6, 90128 Palermo, Italy
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Dipartimento di Scienza Applicata e Tecnologia, Politecnico di Torino, Viale T. Michel, 5, 15121 Alessandria, Italy
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Dipartimento di Chimica, Materiali ed Ingegneria Chimica “G. Natta”, Politecnico di Milano, Piazza L. da Vinci 32, 20133 Milano, Italy
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Dipartimento di Fisica e Chimica, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, Ed. 17, 90128 Palermo, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2018, 11(3), 383; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030383
Received: 25 January 2018 / Revised: 28 February 2018 / Accepted: 1 March 2018 / Published: 5 March 2018
The aim of this work is the investigation of the effect of ultrasound treatment on the structural characteristics of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and the consequent influence that the shortening induced by sonication exerts on the morphology, rheological behaviour and thermo-oxidative resistance of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE)-based nanocomposites. First, CNTs have been subjected to sonication for different time intervals and the performed spectroscopic and morphological analyses reveal that a dramatic decrease of the CNT’s original length occurs with increased sonication time. The reduction of the initial length of CNTs strongly affects the nanocomposite rheological behaviour, which progressively changes from solid-like to liquid-like as the CNT sonication time increases. The study of the thermo-oxidative behaviour of the investigated nanocomposites reveals that the CNT sonication has a detrimental effect on the thermo-oxidative stability of nanocomposites, especially for long exposure times. The worsening of the thermo-oxidative resistance of sonicated CNT-containing nanocomposites could be attributed to the lower thermal conductivity of low-aspect-ratio CNTs, which causes the increase of the local temperature at the polymer/nanofillers interphase, with the consequent acceleration of the degradative phenomena. View Full-Text
Keywords: UHMWPE; CNTs; sonication; nanocomposites; rheology; thermo-oxidative stability UHMWPE; CNTs; sonication; nanocomposites; rheology; thermo-oxidative stability
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Arrigo, R.; Teresi, R.; Gambarotti, C.; Parisi, F.; Lazzara, G.; Dintcheva, N.T. Sonication-Induced Modification of Carbon Nanotubes: Effect on the Rheological and Thermo-Oxidative Behaviour of Polymer-Based Nanocomposites. Materials 2018, 11, 383.

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