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Open AccessArticle

Enhanced Electrical Conductivity of Carbon Nanotube-Based Elastomer Nanocomposites Prepared by Microwave Curing

1
School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA
2
Samuel Roberts Noble Microscopy Laboratory, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2019, 11(7), 1212; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11071212
Received: 13 July 2019 / Accepted: 24 July 2019 / Published: 26 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conducting Polymers)
Nanocomposites consisting of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and well-dispersed carbon nanotubes (CNT) can be cured by microwave radiation within a minute, forming a conductive network within the cured materials. Microwave irradiation delivers energy directly to the inner core of the nanocomposites by heating CNTs and initiating rapid polymerization of the elastomer. In this paper, nanocomposites were fabricated with CNT loadings between 0.5 wt.%–2.5 wt.% via microwave irradiation. Key properties of the nanocomposites including electrical conductivity, microstructures, CNT distribution, density, and surface effects were all characterized. The properties of microwave-cured nanocomposites were compared with those manufactured by the thermal method using a conventional oven. The microwave-curing method substantially increased the electrical conductivity of the nanocomposites due to the improved nanoparticle dispersion and likely CNT alignment. Optimal microwave-curing parameters were identified to further improve the conductivity of the nanocomposites with lowest CNT loading. A conductivity enhancement of 142.8% over thermally cured nanocomposites was achieved for nanocomposites with 1 wt.% CNTs cured via one-step microwave irradiation. View Full-Text
Keywords: microwave irradiation; polydimethylsiloxane; carbon nanotubes; electrical conductivity; microstructure; nanoparticle distribution; alignment microwave irradiation; polydimethylsiloxane; carbon nanotubes; electrical conductivity; microstructure; nanoparticle distribution; alignment
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MDPI and ACS Style

Herren, B.; Larson, P.; Saha, M.C.; Liu, Y. Enhanced Electrical Conductivity of Carbon Nanotube-Based Elastomer Nanocomposites Prepared by Microwave Curing. Polymers 2019, 11, 1212. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11071212

AMA Style

Herren B, Larson P, Saha MC, Liu Y. Enhanced Electrical Conductivity of Carbon Nanotube-Based Elastomer Nanocomposites Prepared by Microwave Curing. Polymers. 2019; 11(7):1212. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11071212

Chicago/Turabian Style

Herren, Blake; Larson, Preston; Saha, Mrinal C.; Liu, Yingtao. 2019. "Enhanced Electrical Conductivity of Carbon Nanotube-Based Elastomer Nanocomposites Prepared by Microwave Curing" Polymers 11, no. 7: 1212. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11071212

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