Processing Route to Disentangle Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube Towards Ceramic Composite
Multi-walled carbon nanotubes were highly aggregated into ropes after their synthesis by chemical vapour deposition and, therefore, two different methods for disentangling the bundles of nanotubes were studied. One method compared the use of mild and vigorous mechanical treatments in ethanol and the other one employed dispersants in aqueous media. For comparison purposes and according to their different exfoliating behaviour, sodium dodecyl sulphate and gum arabic were selected as dispersants. The results evidenced that mechanical sonication was insufficient for disentangling the ropes, whereas, the combined action of mild sonication in an ultrasonic bath with the addition of gum arabic to an aqueous suspension containing nanotubes improved the exfoliating performance. Stable suspensions of unbundled multi-walled carbon nanotubes were obtained adding only 0.05 wt% of gum arabic with a dispersant/MWNTs concentration ratio of 0.25. These values corresponded to a reduction in the dispersant concentration between 1 to 2 orders of magnitude compared to those commonly employed. In addition, a processing route for manufacturing dense and homogenous silicon nitride composites using spark plasma sintering with 1.8 vol% of multi-walled carbon nanotubes almost free of organics was developed without nanotubes degradation and aggregation.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2009-10-01
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