PS/PMPS polymer blends as a CNT nanocomposite matrix

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


An important application of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) is their use as a nanofiller in polymer nanocomposites. If a percolating CNT network is formed, the conducting properties of the CNTs can be transferred to the complete material. For various reasons, the amount of added filler at which such a network is formed, defined as the percolation threshold, should be as low as possible. However, due to the strong interactions between CNTs, achieving good dispersion in the matrix can be problematic, lowering the percolation threshold. For this purpose, specialized dispersion techniques are used in the preparation of CNT nanocomposites, such as latex technology, where surfactants are used to form aqueous polymer and nanotube emulsions, which are subsequently mixed, freeze-dried and compression-moulded. A complementary approach for lowering the percolation threshold is limiting the volume of the material that is accessible to CNTs. This requires a phase separated system such as a polymer blend, leading to volume exclusion or double percolation.
In this work a polystyrene (PS) / polymethylphenylsiloxane (PMPS) blend system was studied as a matrix for CNT nanocomposites. The study of these polymer blend nanocomposites was performed using thermal analysis techniques, such as DSC, as well as surface characterization and rheology. While an excellent dispersion of CNTs by polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) was reported before, this is to our knowledge the first study on the related PMPS, which seems to show similar CNT-dispersing properties Unlike the strongly immiscible behaviour known for PS/PDMS blends however, the PS/PMPS system showed partial miscibility. While this means that phase separated morphologies can still be attained, which can be used for volume exclusion, this also makes it possible to develop homogeneous blends where PMPS seems to act more as a CNT compatibiliser. Clear proof of mechanical percolation was found for such systems, and conductivity studies are underway.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication18th Annual meeting of the Belgian Polymer Group, BPG-2011, Houffalize, Belgium
PublisherBelgian Polymer Group
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2011


  • Nanocomposites
  • percolation
  • Carbon Nanotubes
  • Partial Miscibility


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