Date

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science

Department

Polymer Science and Engineering

First Adviser

Pearson, Raymond A.

Abstract

The use of multiphase polymer blends provides unique morphologies and properties to reduce the percolation concentration and increase conductivity of carbon-based polymer composites. These systems offer improved conductivity, temperature stability and selective distribution of the conductive filler through unique morphologies at significantly lower conductive filler concentration. In this work, the kinetic and thermodynamic effects on a series of multiphase conductive polymer composites were investigated. The polymer blend phase morphology, filler distribution, electrical conductivity, and rheological properties of CB-filled PP/PMMA/EAA conductive polymer composites were determined. Thermodynamic and kinetic parameters were found to influence the morphology development and final composite properties. The morphology and CB distribution were found to be kinetically driven when annealed for a short period of time following the shear-intensive mixing process, whereas the three-phase polymer blend morphology is driven by thermodynamics when given sufficient time under high temperature annealing conditions in the melt state. At short annealing times, the CB distribution was influenced by the compounding sequence where the CB was added after being premixed with one of the polymer phases or directly added to the three phase polymer melt, but again was thermodynamically driven at longer annealing times with the CB migrating to the EAA phase. The resistivity was found to decrease by a statistically significant amount to similar levels for all of the composite systems with increasing annealing time, providing evidence of gradual phase coalescence to a tri-continuous morphology and CB migration. The addition of CB via the PP and EAA masterbatch results in significantly faster percolation and lower resistivity compared to when added direct to the system during compounding after 30 minutes annealing by a statistically significant amount. Dynamic oscillatory shear rheology using small-amplitude oscillations was used to probe for differences in the tri-continuous morphology and attempt to characterize the CB distribution with annealing time. Minor differences were observed in the PP/PMMA/(EAA-CB) as a function of annealing time, while the rheological behavior was not observed to be significantly different for the other multiphase composites as a function of annealing, nor for the compounding sequence after the same annealing time.

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