Particle spatial dispersion is a crucial characteristic of polymer composite materials and this property is recognized as especially important innanocomposite materials due to the general tendency of nanoparticles to aggregate under processing conditions. We introduce dispersion metrics along with a specified dispersion scale over which material homogeneity is measured and consider how the dispersion metrics correlate quantitatively with the variation of basic nanocomposite properties. We then address the general problem of quantifying nanoparticle spatial dispersion in model nanocomposites of single-walled carbon nanotubes(SWNT) in poly(methylmetacrylate) (PMMA). For the nanocomposites containing the same amount of SWNTs, the relationships between the quantified dispersion levels and physical properties show about four orders of magnitude variation in storage modulus, almost eight orders of magnitude variation in electric conductivity, and about 70% reduction in peak mass loss rate at the highest dispersion level used in this study. The observation of such a profound effect of SWNT dispersion indicates the need for objective dispersion metrics for correlating and understanding how the properties of nanocomposites are determined by the concentration, shape and size of the nanotubes.
Citation: Polymer Journal
Pub Type: Journals
Particle Dispersion, Carbon Nanotubes, Polymer Nanocomposites