Characterizing Environmental Transformation of Multi-walled Carbon Nanotubes and Carbon Nano-Fiber Composites using Thermal Analysis and Related Hyphenated Techniques

E. Sahle-Demessie, A. Zhao, A.W. Salamon, B. Cassel, N.A. Gagliardi
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, US

Keywords: MWCNT, CNF-composits, TGA-GC-MS, DSC, environmental transformation


Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) coupled with gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy (TGA/GCMS), for the evolved gas analysis, has given insight to the stability and kinetics of structural changes and determining adsorbed organics to nanomaterials and nanocomposites. TGA is also an effective technique to confirm dimensions and homogeneity of MWCNT including the presence of trace metal catalyst or other contaminants, and structural defects. The use of TGA/GC-MS brings insight to the affects of UV exposure on MWCNT and CNT-composites. Fast scanning differential scanning calorimetry (Hyper®DSC) was used to accurately determine the heat capacity and investigate the relationship of the rigid-amorphous fraction (RAF) in semicrystalline polyers of nanocomposite systems. These results were compared with other characterization techniques, electron microscopy (SEM and TEM) and X-ray diffraction. With the increase in the commercialization of engineered nanomaterials and the future of nanotechnology rests upon approaches to characterize and manufacture useful complex nanomaterial systems, and assess their use phase and endo-of life environmental transformation. Unlike the mature analytical market for bulk and molecular matter, the current advance from discovery to application in nanotechnology is constrained due to the lack of quick, rapid, reliable and low cost analytical techniques.