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Structure evolution in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) - multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) composite films during in-situ uniaxial deformation

DOI: 10.1016/j.polymer.2016.03.071 DOI Help

Authors: Ellen L. Heeley (Open University) , Darren J. Hughes (University of Warwick) , Eleanor Crabb (Open University) , Matthew Kershaw (Open University) , Olga Shebanova (Diamond Light Source) , Sandy Leung (International Institute for Nanocomposites Manufacturing (IINM)) , Tony Mcnally (International Institute for Nanocomposites Manufacturing (IINM))
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Polymer

State: Published (Approved)
Published: March 2016

Abstract: Combined small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS), mechanical and thermal techniques have been used to follow the morphology evolution in a series of poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) multiwall carbon nanotube (MWCNT) composite films during quasi solid-state uniaxial deformation at low strain rates. Uniaxially deformed PET-MWCNT films displayed improved mechanical properties compared with unfilled PET films. SAXS/WAXS data revealed a well oriented lamellar structure for unfilled PET films. In contrast, the PET-MWCNT composites revealed a nanohybrid shish-kebab (NHSK) morphology, with reduced orientation and crystallinity. Mechanistically, this morphology development is attributed to the MWCNTs acting as shish for the epitaxial growth of PET crystallites. Furthermore, nucleation and crystal growth occurs in the PET matrix, but MWCNTs ultimately inhibit crystallite development and hinder a final lamellar structure developing. The results show unequivocally the role MWCNTs play as nanofillers, in the morphology development, thermal and mechanical properties in composite polymer films.

Journal Keywords: Polymer multi-walled carbon nanotube composites; Small- and Wide-Angle X-Ray Scattering (SAXS/WAXS); crystalline morphology evolution; nucleating agents

Subject Areas: Biology and Bio-materials

Instruments: I22-Small angle scattering & Diffraction