Functionalization of MWCNT with P(MMA-co-S) copolymers via ATRP: Influence on localization of MWCNT in SAN/PPE 40/60 blends and on rheological and dielectric properties of the composites


In this work, the localization of functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) with random copolymers of methyl methacrylate and styrene (P(MMA-co-S)) in poly(styrene-co-acrylonitrile)/poly(2, 6-dimethyl-1,4-phenylene ether) blends (SAN/PPE) and its influence on morphological, rheological and dielectric properties of the composites were investigated. P(MMA-co-S) copolymers were grafted onto MWCNT via atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP). The molecular weight of the copolymers was adjusted by controlling the time of reaction. In SAN/PPE blends, MWCNT grafted with low molecular weight copolymers were predominantly located at the interface of the blend and a few individual tubes were dispersed in the PPE phase. Aggregation of MWCNT was observed nearby the interfacial region because of micellization of grafted copolymers. Aggregation was more pronounced with increasing molecular weight of the grafted P(MMA-co-S) copolymer. In the melt, the composite containing MWCNT with low molecular weight copolymers had higher dynamic moduli than the one with pristine MWCNT. An increasing molecular weight of grafted copolymer led to a softening effect which resulted in a reduction of the moduli of the composite. Although a pronounced enhancement was observed for the composites with pristine MWCNT, only a small increase in electrical conductivity was achieved by adding functionalized MWCNT owing to the poor network formed by functionalized MWCNT in the blends.
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