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Dispersion of Carbon Nanotubes: Mixing, Sonication, Stabilization, and Composite Properties

Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 0HE, UK
Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 1QT, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Polymers 2012, 4(1), 275-295;
Received: 1 December 2011 / Revised: 9 January 2012 / Accepted: 9 January 2012 / Published: 23 January 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Nanotubes: Synthesis, Characterization and Applications)
Advances in functionality and reliability of carbon nanotube (CNT) composite materials require careful formulation of processing methods to ultimately realize the desired properties. To date, controlled dispersion of CNTs in a solution or a composite matrix remains a challenge, due to the strong van der Waals binding energies associated with the CNT aggregates. There is also insufficiently defined correlation between the microstructure and the physical properties of the composite. Here, we offer a review of the dispersion processes of pristine (non-covalently functionalized) CNTs in a solvent or a polymer solution. We summarize and adapt relevant theoretical analysis to guide the dispersion design and selection, from the processes of mixing/sonication, to the application of surfactants for stabilization, to the final testing of composite properties. The same approaches are expected to be also applicable to the fabrication of other composite materials involving homogeneously dispersed nanoparticles. View Full-Text
Keywords: sonication; shear mixing; dispersion; electric conductivity; composite sonication; shear mixing; dispersion; electric conductivity; composite
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Huang, Y.Y.; Terentjev, E.M. Dispersion of Carbon Nanotubes: Mixing, Sonication, Stabilization, and Composite Properties. Polymers 2012, 4, 275-295.

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