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Polymers 2019, 11(3), 435; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11030435

Using an Ionic Liquid to Reduce the Electrical Percolation Threshold in Biobased Thermoplastic Polyurethane/Graphene Nanocomposites

POLYMAT and Polymer Science and Technology Department, Faculty of Chemistry, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Paseo Manuel de Lardizabal 3, 20018 Donostia, Spain
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Received: 11 February 2019 / Revised: 26 February 2019 / Accepted: 1 March 2019 / Published: 6 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon-Based Polymer Nanocomposites for High-Performance Applications)
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Abstract

Biobased thermoplastic polyurethane (bTPU)/unmodified graphene (GR) nanocomposites (NCs) were obtained by melt-mixing in a lab-scaled conventional twin-screw extruder. Alternatively, GR was also modified with an ionic liquid (GR-IL) using a simple preparation method with the aim of improving the dispersion level. XRD diffractograms indicated a minor presence of well-ordered structures in both bTPU/GR and bTPU/GR-IL NCs, which also showed, as observed by TEM, nonuniform dispersion. Electrical conductivity measurements pointed to an improved dispersion level when GR was modified with the IL, because the bTPU/GR-IL NCs showed a significantly lower electrical percolation threshold (1.99 wt%) than the bTPU/GR NCs (3.21 wt%), as well as higher conductivity values. Young’s modulus increased upon the addition of the GR (by 65% with 4 wt%), as did the yield strength, while the ductile nature of the bTPU matrix maintained in all the compositions, with elongation at break values above 200%. This positive effect on the mechanical properties caused by the addition of GR maintained or slightly increased when GR-IL was used, pointing to the success of this method of modifying the nanofiller to obtain bTPU/GR NCs. View Full-Text
Keywords: nanocomposites; graphene; melt processing; mechanical properties; electrical conductivity nanocomposites; graphene; melt processing; mechanical properties; electrical conductivity
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Aranburu, N.; Otaegi, I.; Guerrica-Echevarria, G. Using an Ionic Liquid to Reduce the Electrical Percolation Threshold in Biobased Thermoplastic Polyurethane/Graphene Nanocomposites. Polymers 2019, 11, 435.

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