Indian Journal of Fibre & Textile Research
Vol. 31, March 2006, pp. 29-40


Polymer/carbon nanotube composites—An overview


Han Gi Chae & Satish Kumar


Carbon nanotubes can currently be obtained with a diameter from about < 1 nm to ~200 nm. Due to their exceptional mechanical, thermal, optical and electrical properties, the films, fibers and bulk composites are being processed from carbon nanotubes as well as from their composites in various matrix systems. Both pristine and functionalized nanotubes are being dispersed in various polymer matrices using melt processing, solution processing and in situ polymerization. Polymer/carbon nanotube composite with enhanced tensile strength, compressive strength, tensile modulus, glass transition temperature, solvent resistance, fatigue resistance, wear resistance, thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity and reduced thermal shrinkage can be processed using conventional polymer processing methods. Carbon nanotubes also act as a nucleating agent for polymer crystallization and have been incorporated in more than 40 polymer matrices. Their dispersion in polymer matrices is critical for achieving significant property improvements. Ultra high carbon nanotube orientation is critical for achieving high modulus carbon nanotube fiber or polymer/carbon nanotube composite fibers. In addition, maintaining long nanotube length is also important for achieving improvements in high strain properties. This paper reports the recent progress in the development of carbon nanotube and polymer/carbon nanotube composite films and fibers, focusing the work carried out at the Georgia Institute of Technology, USA.

Keywords: Carbon nanotube, Composite fiber, Polymer/carbon nanotube composite

IPC Code: Int. Cl.8 B82B, C08K3/04