Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes and Poly(lactic acid) Nanocomposite Fibrous Membranes Prepared by Solution Blow Spinning
Nanocomposite fibers based on multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) and poly(lactic acid) (PLA) were prepared by solution blow spinning (SBS). Fiber morphology was characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and optical microscopy (OM). Electrical, thermal, surface and crystalline properties of the spun fibers were evaluated, respectively, by conductivity measurements (4-point probe), thermogravimetric analyses (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), contact angle and X-ray diffraction (XRD). OM analysis of the spun mats showed a poor dispersion of MWCNT in the matrix, however dispersion in solution was increased during spinning where droplets of PLA in solution loaded with MWCNT were pulled by the pressure drop at the nozzle, producing PLA fibers filled with MWCNT. Good electrical conductivity and hydrophobicity can be achieved at low carbon nanotube contents. When only 1 wt% MWCNT was added to low-crystalline PLA, surface conductivity of the composites increased from 5 × 10−8 to 0.46 S/cm. Addition of MWCNT can slightly influence the degree of crystallinity of PLA fibers as studied by XRD and DSC. Thermogravimetric analyses showed that MWCNT loading can decrease the onset degradation temperature of the composites which was attributed to the catalytic effect of metallic residues in MWCNT. Moreover, it was demonstrated that hydrophilicity slightly increased with an increase in MWCNT content. These results show that solution blow spinning can also be used to produce nanocomposite fibers with many potential applications such as in sensors and biosensors.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: March 1, 2012
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