Infoscience

Journal article

Role of the particle size polydispersity in the electrical conductivity of carbon nanotube-epoxy composites

Carbon nanotubes (CTNs) with large aspect-ratios are extensively used to establish electrical connectedness in polymer melts at very low CNT loadings. However, the CNT size polydispersity and the quality of the dispersion are still not fully understood factors that can substantially alter the desired characteristics of CNT nanocomposites. Here we demonstrate that the electrical conductivity of polydisperse CNT-epoxy composites with purposely-tailored distributions of the nanotube length L is a quasiuniversal function of the first moment of L. This finding challenges the current understanding that the conductivity depends upon higher moments of the CNT length. We explain the observed quasiuniversality by a combined effect between the particle size polydispersity and clustering. This mechanism can be exploited to achieve controlled tuning of the electrical transport in general CNT nanocomposites.

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