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Concept: Carbon fiber


Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are often used as conductive fillers in composite materials, but electrical conductivity is limited by the maximum filler concentration that is necessary to maintain composite structures. This paper presents further improvement in electrical conductivity by precipitating gold nanoparticles onto CNTs. In our composites, the concentrations of CNTs and poly (vinyl acetate) were respectively 60 and 10 vol%. Four different gold concentrations, 0, 10, 15, or 20 vol% were used to compare the influence of the gold precipitation on electrical conductivity and thermopower of the composites. The remaining portion was occupied by poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) poly(styrenesulfonate), which de-bundled and stabilized CNTs in water during synthesis processes. The concentrations of gold nanoparticles are below the percolation threshold of similar composites. However, with 15-vol% gold, the electrical conductivity of our composites was as high as ∼6×10(5) S/m, which is at least ∼500% higher than those of similar composites as well as orders of magnitude higher than those of other polymer composites containing CNTs and gold particles. According to our analysis with a variable range hopping model, the high conductivity can be attributed to gold doping on CNT networks. Additionally, the electrical properties of composites made of different types of CNTs were also compared.

Concepts: Nanoparticle, Water, Nanomaterials, Gold, Composite material, Colloidal gold, Electrical conductivity, Carbon fiber


The poisoning of H2S sensing material based on the mixture of acid-treated carbon nanotubes, CuO and SnO2 was investigated by exposing the material to high doses of H2S (1% in volume) and following the changes spectroscopically. The presence of metal sulfides (CuS and SnS2), sulfates and thiols was confirmed on the surface of this material as the result of H2S poisoning. Further study revealed that leaving this material in air for extended period of time led to reoxidation of metal sulfides back to metal oxides. The formation of thiols and sulfates directly on carbon nanotubes is not reversible under these conditions; however, the extent of the overall surface reaction in this case is substantially lower than that for the composite material.

Concepts: Time, Carbon dioxide, Carbon, Oxide, Sulfur, Composite material, Sulfide, Carbon fiber


Nitrogen-based thermoset polymers have many industrial applications (for example, in composites), but are difficult to recycle or rework. We report a simple one-pot, low-temperature polycondensation between paraformaldehyde and 4,4'-oxydianiline (ODA) that forms hemiaminal dynamic covalent networks (HDCNs), which can further cyclize at high temperatures, producing poly(hexahydrotriazine)s (PHTs). Both materials are strong thermosetting polymers, and the PHTs exhibited very high Young’s moduli (up to ~14.0 gigapascals and up to 20 gigapascals when reinforced with surface-treated carbon nanotubes), excellent solvent resistance, and resistance to environmental stress cracking. However, both HDCNs and PHTs could be digested at low pH (<2) to recover the bisaniline monomers. By simply using different diamine monomers, the HDCN- and PHT-forming reactions afford extremely versatile materials platforms. For example, when poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) diamine monomers were used to form HDCNs, elastic organogels formed that exhibited self-healing properties.

Concepts: Polymer chemistry, Monomer, Plastic, Carbon fiber, Thermoplastic, Polyethylene terephthalate, Thermosetting plastics, Thermosetting polymer


In this work, single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) fibers were produced from SWCNT polyelectrolyte dispersions stabilized by crown ether in dimethyl sulfoxide and coagulated into aqueous solutions. The SWCNT polyelectrolyte dispersions had concentrations up to 52 mg/mL and showed liquid crystalline behavior under polarized optical microscopy. The produced SWCNT fibers are neat (i.e., not forming composites with polymers) and showed a tensile strength up to 124 MPa and a Young’s modulus of 14 GPa. This tensile strength is comparable to those of SWCNT fibers spun from strong acids. Conductivities on the order of 10(4) S/m were obtained by doping the fibers with iodine.

Concepts: Concentration, Chemistry, Carbon nanotube, Tensile strength, Pascal, Young's modulus, Carbon fiber, Crown ether


Four types of films viz. gelatin, gelatin-MMT, gelatin-chitosan and gelatin-MMT-chitosan prepared from redsnapper and grouper bone gelatin were compared with the mammalian gelatin films, for their mechanical and barrier properties. Grouper gelatin films had higher tensile strength (TS) and Young’s modulus (YM), but lower elongation at break (EAB) than redsnapper films. Incorporation of MMT and chitosan improved the TS (p<0.05) of the films. Water solubilities were lower (p<0.05) in films incorporated with chitosan compared to simple gelatin film. Protein solubilities were lower in gelatin-MMT films, irrespective of the type of solvent used. The water vapour transmission rates (WVTR) of fish and mammalian gelatin films were similar, but addition of MMT had reduced WVTR (p<0.05). SEM micrographs depicted smoother surface for gelatin-MMT and gelatin-MMT-chitosan films. Thus, composite fish gelatin films made with MMT and chitosan could be the good natural biodegradable films due to their better mechanical and barrier properties.

Concepts: Water, Tensile strength, Water vapor, Young's modulus, Carbon fiber, Vapor, Photographic film, Gelatin


Ni microparticle-filled binary polymer composites were developed as temperature sensors which possess greater improved reproducibility compared to single polymer composite sensors.

Concepts: Composite material, Carbon fiber


Graphene not only possesses interesting electrochemical behavior but also has a remarkable surface area and mechanical strength and is naturally abundant, all advantageous properties for the design of tailored composite materials. Graphene-semiconductor or -metal nanoparticle composites have the potential to function as efficient, multifunctional materials for energy conversion and storage. These next-generation composite systems could possess the capability to integrate conversion and storage of solar energy, detection, and selective destruction of trace environmental contaminants or achieve single-substrate, multistep heterogeneous catalysis. These advanced materials may soon become a reality, based on encouraging results in the key areas of energy conversion and sensing using graphene oxide as a support structure. Through recent advances, chemists can now integrate such processes on a single substrate while using synthetic designs that combine simplicity with a high degree of structural and composition selectivity. This progress represents the beginning of a transformative movement leveraging the advancements of single-purpose chemistry toward the creation of composites designed to address whole-process applications. The promising field of graphene nanocomposites for sensing and energy applications is based on fundamental studies that explain the electronic interactions between semiconductor or metal nanoparticles and graphene. In particular, reduced graphene oxide is a suitable composite substrate because of its two-dimensional structure, outstanding surface area, and electrical conductivity. In this Account, we describe common assembly methods for graphene composite materials and examine key studies that characterize its excited state interactions. We also discuss strategies to develop graphene composites and control electron capture and transport through the 2D carbon network. In addition, we provide a brief overview of advances in sensing, energy conversion, and storage applications that incorporate graphene-based composites. With these results in mind, we can envision a new class of semiconductor- or metal-graphene composites sensibly tailored to address the pressing need for advanced energy conversion and storage devices.

Concepts: Nanoparticle, Sun, Nanomaterials, Composite material, Solar energy, Solar power, Boeing 787, Carbon fiber


Wood pulp fibres are an important component of environmentally sound and renewable fibre-reinforced composite materials. The high aspect ratio of pulp fibres is an essential property with respect to the mechanical properties a given composite material can achieve. The length of pulp fibres is affected by composite processing operations. This thus emphasizes the importance of assessing the pulp fibre length and how this may be affected by a given process for manufacturing composites. In this work a new method for measuring the length distribution of fibres and fibre fragments has been developed. The method is based on; (i) dissolving the composites, (ii) preparing the fibres for image acquisition and (iii) image analysis of the resulting fibre structures. The image analysis part is relatively simple to implement and is based on images acquired with a desktop scanner and a new ImageJ plugin. The quantification of fibre length has demonstrated the fibre shortening effect because of an extrusion process and subsequent injection moulding. Fibres with original lengths of >1 mm where shortened to fibre fragments with length of <200 μm. The shortening seems to be affected by the number of times the fibres have passed through the extruder, the amount of chain extender and the fraction of fibres in the polymer matrix.

Concepts: Composite material, Paper, Wood, Boeing 787, Carbon fiber, Fiberglass, Aramid, Composite materials


Multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) are functionalized covalently with ionic liquid (IL, 3-aminoethyl imidazolium bromide) which helps good dispersion of IL- functionalized MWNT (MWNT-IL) in the poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) matrix. Analysis of TEM micrographs suggests ~10 nm coating thickness of MWNTs by IL and the covalent linkage of IL with MWNT is confirmed from FTIR and Raman spectra. PVDF nanocomposites with full β-polymorphic (piezoelectric) form are prepared using MWNT-IL by both solvent cast and melt-blending methods. The FE-SEM and TEM micrographs indicate that IL bound MWNTs are homogeneously dispersed within the PVDF matrix. Increasing MWNT-IL concentration in the composites results in increased β polymorph formation with a concomitant decrease of α polymorph and a 100% β polymorph formation occurs for 1 wt% MWNT-IL in both the fabrication conditions. DSC study shows that the MWNT-ILs are efficient nucleating agent for PVDF crystallization preferentially nucleating β form due to its dipolar interactions with PVDF. The glass transition temperature (Tg) gradually increases with increase in MWNT-IL concentration and the storage modulus (G´) of the composites increases significantly showing a maximum increase of 101.3% for 0.5 wt % MWNT-IL. The Young’s modulus increases with MWNT-IL concentration and analysis of the data using Halpin-Tsai equation suggests that at low concentration they adopt an orientation parallel to the film surface but at higher MWNT-IL concentration it is randomly oriented. The tensile strength also increases with increase in MWNT-IL concentration and both Young’s modulus and tensile strength of solvent cast films are lower than melt-blended samples. The elongation at break in the solvent cast samples shows a maximum but in melt-blended samples it decreases continuously with increasing MWNT-IL concentration. The composites exhibit a very low conductivity percolation threshold at 0.05 wt% and three dimensional conducting network is produced. Higher conductivity (~1 S/cm for 1% MWNT-IL) than other MWNT / PVDF composites has been attributed to the anchored ionic liquid.

Concepts: Crystal, Carbon nanotube, Materials science, Tensile strength, Ionic liquid, Glass transition, Young's modulus, Carbon fiber


In the current study, carbon nanotube/graphene oxide nanoribbon (CNT/GONR) composites were obtained via a chemical “unzipping” method. Then novel CNT/GONR Nafion composite proton exchange membranes (PEMs) were prepared via a blending method. The CNT/GONR nanocomposites induce the adjustment of (-SO3-)n ionic clusters in Nafion matrix to construct long-range ionic nanochannels and keep the activity of ionic clusters at the same time. This dramatically promotes the proton transport of the CNT/GONR Nafion composite PEMs at low humidity and high temperature. The proton conductivity of the composite PEM with 0.5 wt% CNT/GONR is as high as 0.18 S·cm-1 at 120 oC and 40 %RH, nine times of recast Nafion (0.02 S·cm-1) at the same conditions. The 1D/2D nanostructure of CNT/GONR nanocomposite also contributes to restrain the methanol permeability of CNT/GONR Nafion. The composite PEM shows a one-order-of-magnitude decrease (2.84E-09 cm2·s-1) in methanol permeability at 40 oC. Therefore, incorporation of this 1D/2D nanocomposite into Nafion PEM is a feasible pathway to conquer the trade-off effect between proton conductivity and methanol resistance.

Concepts: Oxygen, Hydrogen, Chemical element, Nanomaterials, Composite material, Carbon fiber, Proton exchange membrane fuel cell, Proton exchange membrane