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Nanocomposite Films derived from Alkoxysilane Terminated Amide Acid Oligomers and Carbon Nanotubes

  • Joseph G. Smith (a1), John W. Connell (a1), Peter Lillehei (a1), Kent A. Watson (a2) and Craig M. Thompson (a3)...

Low color, space environmentally stable, polymeric materials with sufficient electrical conductivity for static charge dissipation are of interest for potential applications on Gossamer spacecraft. One method of imparting electrical conductivity while maintaining optical clarity is through the use of single wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs). Both theory and research on SWNTs have shown them to be conductive. However, SWNTs are very difficult to uniformly disperse in a polymer. The approach described herein was to use oligomers endcapped with functional groups that could condense with functionalities present on purified, laser ablated SWNTs. Low color, radiation resistant amide acid oligomers endcapped with trialkoxysilane groups were combined with SWNTs. Since the SWNTs were purified by an oxidative process (nitric/sulfuric acid treatment), they have functionalities such as hydroxyl and carboxylic acid groups that can condense with the terminal alkoxysilane groups. After mixing at room temperature, the mixtures were used to cast films that were subsequently stage-cured up to 300°C for 1 hour in air. During this thermal treatment, imidization and condensation occurred. The chemistry, physical, and mechanical properties of the resulting nancomposite films will be presented.

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