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Carbon Nanotubes Speed Crystallization of Polymers

G. Georgiev, S. Schoen, D. Ivy, L. Wielgus, Y. Cabrera, P. Cebe
Assumption College, US

Keywords: carbon nanotubes, isotactic polypropylene, polymer, crystallization


Polymer nanocomposites are the largest commercial application for carbon nanotubes (CNTs) which determines the interest in their effect on crystallization processes of polymers. We chose Isotactic Polypropylene (iPP) as one of the most widely used polymers. With addition of carbon nanotubes to iPP the DSC crystallization peak full width at half maximum (FWHM) of the heat flow exotherm and the peak time for crystallization (tp) change dramatically. The crystallinity shows a slight variation with the CNTs concentration dipping at 2% CNTs which can be explored further at higher concentrations. The impact and significance of this work is that it provides information about the means to control polymer crystallization kinetics using nanotubes. In addition to kinetics, CNTs change the mechanical, conductive, optical and thermal properties of the polymers. Polymer crystal growth is modified from spherulitic to fibrillar on the surface of the nanotubes. Orienting all of the nanotubes in the same direction will provide highly anisotropic optical, mechanical and conductivity properties of polymer films.
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