Carbon nanotubes with silver nanoparticle decoration and conductive polymer coating for improving the electrical conductivity of polycarbonate composites
KAUST DepartmentPhysical Sciences and Engineering (PSE) Division
Mechanical Engineering Program
Composite and Heterogeneous Material Analysis and Simulation Laboratory (COHMAS)
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AbstractWe proposed a strategy to enhance the conductivity of polycarbonate by using three-phase hybrid metallic/non-metallic fillers. Ethylene diamine (EDA) functionalized multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT-EDA) are first decorated with silver nanoparticles. These Ag/ MWCNT-EDA fillers are then coated with a conductive layer of ethylene glycol treated PEDOT: PSS (poly [3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene]: poly [styrenesulfonate]) (EP). In such an approach, the MWCNT backbone is covered by a highly conductive coating made of Ag nanoparticles surrounded by EP. To understand how Ag and EP form a highly conductive coating, the effect of different wt% of Ag nanoparticles on EP was studied. Ag nanoparticles around the size of 128 ± 28 nmeffectively lowered the volume resistivity of bulk EP, resulting in a highly conducting Ag/EP blend. We found that in the final Ag/MWCNT-EDA/EP assembly, the EP coating enhances the electrical conductivity in two ways: (1) it is an efficient dispersing agent that helps in achieving a uniform dispersion of the Ag/MWCNT-EDA and (2) it acts as a conductive bridge between particles (Ag and MWCNT-EDA), reducing the particle to particle resistivity. When inserted into polycarbonate, this three-phase blend successfully reduced the volume resistivity of the polymer by two orders of magnitude compared with previous approaches.