We have studied the electrical conductivity and percolation threshold of polyurethane (PU) composites filled with multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) purified by increasing immersion time in aqueous solutions of either nitric acid or a mixture of nitric and sulfuric acids at 80°C. The MWCNT crystallinity peaks after 2 h of treatment, which enables the PU composites to enhance the percolation threshold and electrical conductivity in the conductive network formation region. MWCNT treated under either a milder or severer acidic condition deteriorate the electrical behavior of the composites, since MWCNT are poorly dispersed in the PU matrix in the former condition,but lost their intrinsic electrical conductivity due to the partial destruction of their crystalline structure in the latter. Therefore, the acid treatment needs to be carefully controlled to effectively purify the MWCNT, maintain the crystalline structure without further damage, and thereby improve the electrical behavior of PU/MWCNT composites.
- Acid treatment-induced damage
- Electrical conductivity
- Polyurethane/MWCNT composites
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry