Preparation of PMMA/MWNTs Nanocomposite Microcellular Foams by In-situ Generation of Supercritical Carbon Dioxide

Document Type: Research Article

Authors

Department of Polymer Engineering, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, P.O. Box 1477893855 Tehran, I.R. IRAN

Abstract

Nanocomposites containing poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) and surface functionalized Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes (MWNTs) were synthesized. The dispersion of MWNTs in PMMA was characterized using Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM).The synthesized nanocomposites were successfully foamed using a simple method based on the in-situ generation of supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2). This method in contrast with conventional methods exempted from high-pressure pump and separated CO2 tank. The effect of MWNTs concentration, saturation temperature and saturation pressure on cellular morphology of the prepared microcellular foams were studied by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), and average cell size and cell density of the prepared foams were studied by image analysis. An increase in cell density, as well as a reduction of cell size, was observed with an increase in the concentration of carbon nanotubes. It was also observed that an elevation of saturation temperature from 90 °C to 100 °C, at constant saturation pressure, leads to a higher cell density and a lower average cell size. Furthermore, an increase in saturation pressure results in a decrease in average cell diameter as well as an increase in cell density. However, the effects of MWNTs concentration on both of average cell size and cell density were proved to be more striking than those of saturation pressure. 

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