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Title: Conductive carbon nanotube thermosetting polyester nanocomposites
Author: Battisti, Andrea
ISNI:       0000 0004 2729 9356
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2009
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A commercial unsaturated polyester resin has been used in combination with commercial multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) to study the effects of this nanofiller on the electrical properties of the mix in the liquid state, during the cure and in the solid state. The level of addition of the nanotubes ranged from 0.05 to 0.3 wt%. The dispersion of the filler particles in the matrix was carried out combining triple roll milling, horn sonication and high shear mixing. Qualitative optical and electronic microscopy characterisation supports the development of novel techniques for real-time quantitative assessments of dispersion quality. Fitting of shear dependent viscosity, measured between 0.1 and 100 s-1, to Carreau's model has been shown to provide an indicator of the state of nanotube dispersion in the mixture. Additionally, liquid electrical conductivity measurements offer the option of on-line monitoring, providing a promising tool for process optimisation. The formation of an effective conductive network of nanotubes during the cure was investigated by combining impedance spectroscopy measurements and equivalent circuit modelling with two parallel RC circuit in series with each other. This allows in-situ observation of the key phenomenon responsible for the electrical conductivity of the nanocomposite, namely the filler re-aggregation during cure. Optimisation of dispersion and cure parameters results in a nanocomposite showing conductive behaviour in the solid state, achieving DC conductivity of 0.13 S/m at 0.30 wt% loading. The percolation threshold was estimated to occur at 0.026 wt% filler loading. The conductivity achieved is comparable to state-ofthe-art epoxy thermosetting nanocomposites based on use of carbon nanotubes of equivalent quality. Successful laboratory scale trials demonstrated the suitability of the materials in copper electroplating and resistance heating. An industrial scale up trial of a 40 kg batch was carried out, using the dispersion and the monitoring techniques developed in the study.
Supervisor: Partridge, Ivana K.; Skordos, Alexandros A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available