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Calculations of the Energy of Mixing Carbon Nanotubes With Polymers

Published

Author(s)

Marc R. Nyden, Stanislav Stoliarov

Abstract

A method for estimating the free energy of mixing CNTs with polymers is presented. The formation of the nanocomposite is analyzed in terms of a simple path in which the nanotubes are exfoliated from a bundle and dispersed in a distorted polymer with cylindrical cavities to accommodate the nanotubes. From this perspective, the energy of mixing is the difference between the energy required to exfoliate the nanotubes from a bundle and the energy needed to extract the nanotubes from the polymer matrix relative to the relaxed polymer without any nanotubes. These energy components are evaluated by performing molecular mechanics calculations on individual, localized models representing the polymer, nanotube bundles, and polymer/CNT agglomerates. This method is applied to polystyrene/CNT composites and the factors that determine their thermodynamic stability are identified. To a first approximation, the interaction energies (per unit surface area of the nanotubes) are independent of the lengths and chiral indices, but dependent on the diameters of the component nanotubes. By the application of this method, we show that the energy of mixing CNTs with PS is endothermic until the diameters of the component nanotubes exceed about 2.2 nm; at diameters greater than this value the energy of mixing becomes exothermic. This may explain why it is so difficult to obtain good dispersion of SWCNTs in PS, since they rarely grow to have diameters greater than about 1.4 nanometers. On the other hand, since the diameters of MWCNTs typically exceed 10 nm, we would expect them to disperse much better than SWCNTs in polystyrene.
Proceedings Title
Recent Advances in Flame Retardancy of Polymeric Materials Conference | 18th | 2007| BCC |
Conference Dates
May 20-23, 2007
Conference Location
Undefined
Conference Title
Recent Advances in Flame Retardancy of Polymeric Materials

Keywords

energy of mixing carbon nanotubes, molecular mechanics, nanocomposites, polystyrene

Citation

Nyden, M. and Stoliarov, S. (2017), Calculations of the Energy of Mixing Carbon Nanotubes With Polymers, Recent Advances in Flame Retardancy of Polymeric Materials Conference | 18th | 2007| BCC |, Undefined (Accessed June 17, 2024)

Issues

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Created February 19, 2017