Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry

, Volume 113, Issue 2, pp 481-487

First online:

Effect of nanotubes on the thermal stability of polystyrene

  • M. Rios-FachalAffiliated withCPI Cruz do Sar
  • , C. Gracia-FernándezAffiliated withTA Instruments Waters Cromatografía
  • , J. López-BeceiroAffiliated withEPS Universidade da Coruña
  • , S. Gómez-BarreiroAffiliated withCESUGA, University College of Dublin
  • , J. Tarrío-SaavedraAffiliated withEPS Universidade da Coruña
  • , A. PontonAffiliated withUniversité Paris Diderot-Paris 7
  • , R. ArtiagaAffiliated withEPS Universidade da Coruña Email author 

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It has been shown that introducing carbon nanotubes (CNT) into a polymer matrix has a beneficial effect on thermal stability of composites. While the specific effects noted differ depending on many parameters, the general trend is an increase in the degradation temperature and reduction in the degradation rate, quantified as the mass decline over time. The purpose of this study is to evaluate how CNTs influence the main degradation process of composites made with polystyrene containing 2, 3 and 5 % of CNTs. Thermogravimetric experiments are performed, with nitrogen purge, at multiple linear heating ramps. The effects of the nanotubes on the degradation of polystyrene are evaluated. Insightful kinetic parameters were obtained for the main process making use of a recently developed model, which is adapted to the thermogravimetric context. The model allows the means to separate the main process from other processes, which could interfere with the kinetic analysis, and also subtract the residual mass, which could produce an apparent stabilizing effect. The main degradation process is clearly stabilized by the presence of nanotubes, although the stabilization is more pronounced at the lowest of the filler contents considered. Clear effects of nanotubes on kinetic parameters were observed.


Nanotubes Polystyrene Thermal stability Degradation Thermogravimetry