Influence of Gamma Irradiation on Carbon Nanotube-Reinforced Polypropylene
Abstract:Single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) have been incorporated into a polypropylene (PP) matrix in different concentrations (range: 0.25–2.5 wt%). The nanotubes were blended with PP particles (∼500 m in size) before mixing in an extruder. Finally, rectangular plates were obtained by compression moulding. PP-SWNT composites were gamma irradiated at different doses, 10 and 20 kGy, to promote crosslinking in the matrix and potentially enhance the interaction between nanotubes and PP. Extensive thermal, structural and mechanical characterization was conducted by means of DSC, X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, uniaxial tensile tests and dynamic mechanical thermal (DMTA) techniques. DSC thermograms reflected higher crystallinity with increasing nanotube concentration. XRD analysis confirmed the only presence of α monoclinic crystals and proved unambiguously that CNTs generated a preferred orientation. Raman spectroscopy confirmed that the intercalation of the polymer between bundles is favored at low CNTs contents. Elastic modulus results confirmed the reinforcement of the polypropylene matrix with increasing SWNT concentration, although stiffness saturation was observed at the highest concentration. Loss tangent DMTA curves showed three transitions for raw polypropylene. While relaxation remained practically unchanged in all the samples, relaxation temperatures showed an increase with increasing CNT content due to the reduced mobility of the system. Gamma-irradiated PP exhibited an increase in the relaxation temperature, associated with changes in glass transition due to radiation-induced crosslinking. On the contrary, gamma-irradiated nanocomposites did not show this effect probably due to the reaction of radiative free radicals with CNTs.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2009-10-01
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