The role of interfacial chemistry and interactions in the dynamics of thermosetting polyurethane–multiwalled carbon nanotube composites at low filler contents
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Acid-oxidized multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) were introduced into a polyurethane (PU) matrix at low filler levels (0.01–0.25 wt%) through either van der Waals or covalent interactions, and their glass transition dynamics using dynamic mechanical analysis and laser-interferometric creep rate spectroscopy was investigated. The nanocomposites reveal substantial impact on the PU glass transition dynamics, which depends on the nanotube content and type of interfacial interactions. The pronounced dynamic heterogeneity within the glass transition covering 200 °C range and the displacement of main PU relaxation maxima from around 0 to 80–140 °C were registered. The results are treated in the framework of chemical inhomogeneity, constrained dynamics effects, and different motional cooperativities. The peculiariaties of the glass transition dynamics in the composites are reflected in their dynamic and static mechanical properties, in particular a two- to threefold increase in modulus and tensile strength for the covalent interfacial interaction of MWCNTs with PU.
KeywordsPolyurethane Carbon nanotubes Nanocomposites Interfacial interactions Dynamics
The authors gratefully acknowledge the FP7-PEOPLE-IRSES-230790 COMPOSITUM Grant and the Royal Society Exchange Visit Grant (Dr. L.V. Karabanova) and the FP7-PEOPLE-IRSES-269267 ENSOR project Grant (Prof. V.A. Bershtein) for the financial support of the collaboration between Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Group at the University of Brighton and the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine (LVK) and Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (VAB), as well as the RCUK Academic Fellowship (Dr R.L.D. Whitby).
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