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A Novel Method to Covalently Functionalize Carbon Nanotubes with Isocyanates



Tinh Nguyen, Aline Granier, Kristen L. Steffens, Hajin Lee, Naomi Eidelman, Jonathan W. Martin


We have developed a novel method to covalently functionalize carbon nanotubes (CNTs) that carry free isocyanate (N=C=O) groups. NCO-functionalized CNTs (NCO-fCNTs) are very desirable, because the NCO group is highly reactive with hydrogen-active groups, such as OH, COOH, and NH, which are commonly present in synthetic and natural polymers. The functionalization utilizes a di-isocyanate compound in which one NCO group has a higher reactivity than the other. By controlling the reaction parameters, the higher reactive NCO is allowed to react with hydrogen-active CNTs, while the less reactive NCO groups remain free. Both NCO-fSingle-walled CNTs (NCO-fSWCNTs) and NCO-fMulti-walled CNTs (NCO-fMWCNTs) have been successfully prepared using hydrogen-active carboxylic-terminated CNTs. Spectroscopic and thermal analysis results clearly showed that the functionalized CNTs bear a substantial amount of organic molecules and free NCO groups, and that the functionalization effectiveness is strongly dependent on catalyst concentration. The NCO-fCNTs have been shown to react readily with amines and polyols. Since the NCO group is highly reactive with a variety of natural and synthetic polymers, NCO functionalization potentially opens up many new applications of CNTs.
Journal of the American Chemical Society


building technology, carbon nanotubes, functionalization, isocyanate, nanotechnology
Created September 30, 2009, Updated February 19, 2017