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Thermal and Flammability Properties of Polypropylene/Carbon Nanotube Nanocomposites.

pdf icon Thermal and Flammability Properties of Polypropylene/Carbon Nanotube Nanocomposites. (3679 K)
Kashiwagi, T.; Grulke, E.; Hilding, J.; Groth, K. M.; Harris, R. H., Jr.; Butler, K. M.; Shields, J. R.; Kharchenko, S.; Douglas, J. F.

Polymer, Vol. 45, No. 12, 4227-4239, May 2004.


nanocomposites; thermal properties; flammability properties; polypropylene; thermal conductivity


The thermal and flammability properties of polypropylene/multi-walled carbon nanotube, (PP/MWNT) nanocomposites were measured with the MWNT content varied from 0.5 to 4% by mass. Dispersion of MWNTs in these nanocomposites was characterized by SEM and optical microscopy. Flammability properties were measured with a cone calorimeter in air and a gasification device in a nitrogen atmosphere. A significant reduction in the peak heat release rate was observed; the greatest reduction was obtained with a MWNT content of 1% by mass. Since the addition of carbon black powder to PP did not reduce the heat release rate as much as with the PP/MWNT nanocomposites, the size and shape of carbon particles appear to be important for effectively reducing the flammability of PP. The radiative ignition delay time of a nanocomposite having less than 2% by mass of MWNT was shorter than that of PP due to an increase in the radiation in-depth absorption coefficient by the addition of carbon nanotubes. The effects of residual iron particles and of defects in the MWNTs on the heat release rate of the nanocomposite were not significant. The flame retardant performance was achieved through the formation of a relatively uniform network-structured floccule layer covering the entire sample surface without any cracks or gaps. This layer re-emitted much of the incident radiation back into the gas phase from its hot surface and thus reduced the transmitted flux to the receding PP layers below it, slowing the PP pyrolysis rate. To gain insight into this phenomena, thermal conductivities of the nanocomposites were measured as a function of temperature while the thermal conductivity of the nanocomposite increases with an increase in MWNT content, the effect being particularly large above 160 DGC, this increase is not as dramatic as the increase in electrical conductivity, however.