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Tailoring the architecture of aromatic polymers for highly efficient dispersion of carbon nanomaterials and their high-performance composites

Zhou, Danling, Zhang, Yanli, Zhu, Jing, Yu, Junrong, Wang, Yan, Hu, Zuming
Carbon 2019 v.148 pp. 297-306
adsorption, carbon, carbon nanotubes, mechanical properties, models, polymers, solubility
A class of star-like co-polybenzimidazole (co-PBI) that consisted of hyperbranched PBI as core and linear PBI as arms is synthesized for dispersion of carbon nanomaterial (CNM) and fabrication of their composites. Such molecular architecture could promote the solubility of PBI by weakening the interchain interactions, and facilitate the adsorption of polymers on CNM with stronger interfacial interactions. As a result of these factors, the concentration of dispersion of CNM dispersed by co-PBI was generally several times higher than that of linear PBI dispersed CNM, demonstrating the much better dispersion effect of co-PBI on CNM. The co-PBI could also be employed as matrix for direct formation of CNM/polymer composites by a simple dispersing and casting process because of the good formability and mechanical properties of co-PBI. Model multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) based composites reveal the much higher mechanical performance of MWCNT/co-PBI composites than that of MWCNT/PBI composites due to the better dispersion state and stronger interfacial interactions in the former. The results presented here could provide an alternative approach for facile and large-scale fabrication of high-performance CNM/polymer composites.