Advanced Materials: TechConnect Briefs 2015Advanced Materials TechConnect Briefs 2015

Nanocomposite Materials Chapter 6

Nanocomposite optimization using polymer-wrapped carbon nanofibers

M.R. Papantonakis, M.E. Barbano, W. Ou, E.P. Gorzkowski, R.A. McGill
US Naval Research Laboratory, United States

pp. 420 - 423

Keywords: carbon nanofiber, nanocomposite, inverse gas chromatography, non-covalent modification

We present results for carbon nanofibers modified by physisorption with a range of polymer modifiers and then dispersed in different polymeric hosts with mechanical advantage and other applications in mind. In contrast to covalent bonded paths, polymer wrapping can be achieved without damaging the physical integrity of the nanofiber. In addition to improving the dispersion properties of nanofibers, we also tailor the surface chemistry properties of the modified nanomaterials to provide improved interfacial adhesion to different host polymers of interest. This is an important consideration for mechanical applications in which one needs to ensure mechanical load is effectively transferred to and shared by the nanofibers embedded in a polymer host. We have characterized the modified nanofibers using inverse gas chromatography (IGC), XPS, TGA and ATR-FTIR. Additionally, IGC was used to measure the surface properties (surface energies, acid/base properties) of the modified carbon nanofiber materials to predict their compatibility with candidate matrix polymers. Finally, nanocomposite samples were fabricated by injection molding and tested for their mechanical properties. Applications of the polymer wrapped carbon nanofiber materials developed in this work may include high strength polymer composites for vehicular applications and high strength concrete for structural applications.