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Polymer nanocomposites: Insights on rheology, percolation and molecular mobility

Nadiv, Roey; Fernandes, Ricardo M. F.; Ochbaum, Guy; Dai, Jing; Buzaglo, Matat; Varenik, Maxim; Biton, Ronit; Furó, István; Regev, Oren

By 12 March 2019No Comments

Polymer, 2018, vol 153pp. 52-60



The integration of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) into a polymer matrix strongly affects the rheological behavior that in turn may hamper the overall performance of the resulting composite. Research in this topic has focused on bulk rheological properties, while here we employ NMR diffusion experiments to explore the mobility (diffusivity) of epoxy molecules when loaded with CNTs. Rheology and light microscopy indicate percolation of CNT aggregates. Those aggregates cage a substantial amount of epoxy molecules while small angle X-ray scattering indicates some rearrangement of epoxy molecules in the vicinity of the nanotubes. NMR diffusion experiments distinguish between the slow diffusion of the caged molecules and that of the free ones, and relate the fraction of the former to the macroscopic system viscosity. The demonstrated surface-induced slowing-down of diffusion is attributed to strong intermolecular π-π interactions among the epoxy molecules, and between them and the CNT surface. These findings demonstrate the utility of NMR diffusion experiments as an additional method applied to nanocomposites.

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