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Composite Films of Waterborne Polyurethane and Few-Layer Graphene—Enhancing Barrier, Mechanical, and Electrical Properties

1
National Graphene Institute and School of Materials, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
2
Institute for Polymers and Composites, University of Minho, Campus of Azurém, 4804-533 Guimarães, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Compos. Sci. 2019, 3(2), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcs3020035
Received: 9 March 2019 / Revised: 28 March 2019 / Accepted: 1 April 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Graphene-based Nanocomposites)
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Abstract

Graphene has excellent mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties. Graphene can serve as potential reinforcement in polymer-based nanocomposites. In order to achieve this goal, graphene has to be distributed homogeneously and dispersed throughout the polymer matrix, establishing a strong interface with the polymer. Solution mixing is an interesting method for the preparation of homogeneous nanocomposites, in particular when using environmentally friendly solvents such as water. The major difficulty met in the production of graphene/polymer composites concerns the preparation and stabilization of graphene in aqueous suspension. In the present work three different graphite-based materials, with different crystallinity and purity grades, were exfoliated in aqueous solution of an amphiphilic pyrene derivative, forming few-layer graphene (FLG). The FLG prepared was dispersed in waterborne polyurethane (WPU) to produce composite films. The composite films were produced by solvent casting and spray coating, forming free-standing films that were characterized in terms of its distribution of FLG through the composite, its permeability to water vapor, its electrical resistivity, and its mechanical properties. The studies demonstrated the influence of different factors on the composite film properties such as the use of graphite vs. FLG, the FLG lateral dimensions, and the FLG composition and composite preparation method. View Full-Text
Keywords: few-layer graphene; waterborne polyurethane; composites; tensile properties; electrical conductivity; barrier properties few-layer graphene; waterborne polyurethane; composites; tensile properties; electrical conductivity; barrier properties
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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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Cunha, E.; Paiva, M.C. Composite Films of Waterborne Polyurethane and Few-Layer Graphene—Enhancing Barrier, Mechanical, and Electrical Properties. J. Compos. Sci. 2019, 3, 35.

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