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Influence of raw carbon nanotubes diameter for the optimization of the load composition ratio in epoxy amperometric composite sensors

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Abstract

In this work, it is reported the necessity to characterize the raw carbon materials before their application in composite electrodes based on multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) dispersed in epoxy resin for the development of improved amperometric sensors. These sensors must contain an optimum MWCNT/epoxy ratio for their best electroanalytical response. The main drawback in MWCNTs composite materials resides in the lack of homogeneity of the different commercial nanotubes largely due to different impurities content, as well as dispersion in their diameter/length ratio and state of aggregation. The optimal composite electrode composition takes into account the high electrode sensitivity, low limit of detection, fast response, and electroanalytical reproducibility. These features depend on carbon nanotube physical properties as the diameter. Three different commercial carbon nanotubes with different diameters were characterized by transmission electron microscopy and the results were significantly different from the ones provided by the manufacturers. Then, the three MWCNTs were used for the MWCNT/epoxy sensors construction. After an accurate electrochemical characterization by cyclic voltammetry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, they were employed as working electrodes using ascorbic acid as a reference analyte. Percolation theory was applied in order to verify the electrochemical results. It is demonstrated that the optimum interval load of raw carbon material in the optimized-composite electrodes closely depends on the MWCNTs diameter, needing 5 % in carbon content for the narrowest MWCNTs containing composite electrodes versus 12 % for the widest MWCNTs.

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Acknowledgements

We are sincerely grateful to all our associates cited throughout the text for making this publication possible. J. Muñoz thanks Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) for the award of PIF studentship.

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Correspondence to M. Baeza.

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Muñoz, J., Bartrolí, J., Céspedes, F. et al. Influence of raw carbon nanotubes diameter for the optimization of the load composition ratio in epoxy amperometric composite sensors. J Mater Sci 50, 652–661 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10853-014-8624-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10853-014-8624-2

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