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Twin-screw extrusion of multi walled carbon nanotubes reinforced polycarbonate composites: Investigation of electrical and mechanical properties

: Mack, C.; Sathyanarayana, S.; Weiss, P.; Mikonsaari, I.; Hübner, C.; Henning, F.; Elsner, P.

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IOP conference series. Materials science and engineering 40 (2012), Nr.1, Art. 012020
ISSN: 1757-8981
ISSN: 1757-899X
International Conference on Structural Nano Composites (NANOSTRUC) <2012, Cranfield/UK>
Konferenzbeitrag, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer ICT ()

1, 3 and 5 wt.% multi walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) reinforced polycarbonate (PC) composites were processed in a twin-screw extruder (L/D=52) with two different screw speeds, throughputs and screw configurations. Extruded strands were characterized for dispersion and measurement of electrical resistivities while the pelletized extrudates were injection molded to produce samples for mechanical and further electrical property measurements. The absolute resistance of the melt was recorded with an online melt resistance setup developed by our group. The volume resistivity of pure PC (1017 ?.m) was lowered to 104 - 105 ?.m on an injection molded PC-1 wt. % MWCNT composite. 3 wt.% MWCNT incorporated composites showed volume resistivity less than 1 ?.m independent of process conditions. At lower filler contents the volume resistivity of injection molded samples were higher than those observed on the extruded strands and this effect diminished with increasing MWCNT loadings; owing to the loss of CNT network contacts due to shear induced filler orientation and core-skin effects. The quality of dispersion was exceptional for all filler concentrations at any process condition owing to the affinity of MWCNT towards PC due to the lower interfacial energy difference between the reactants and high polarity of PC. The modulus and strength of the composites increased with filler addition, however at 5 wt.% filler loading the strength of the composites processed with lower SMEs was less than that observed on the 1 wt.% MWCNT reinforced PC composite. The elongation of the composites at maximum tensile strength were comparable to that of neat PC except for composites with 5 wt.% MWCNT loading processed with lower SMEs. Composites with identical filler loadings which were processed with higher SMEs showed higher notched impact strength values principally because of the ability of very well dispersed filler fractions to inhibit crack propagation. The significance of the results obtained in this work stems from the fact that we were able to produce composites with substantial improvements in electrical properties with improvements/without significant loss in mechanical properties. This is one of the few exceptions to results achieved with commercially available MWCNT reinforced polymer composites processed on a large scale.