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Carbon Nanotubes: Commercial Applications and Trends in Polymers

SpecialChem / Feb 14, 2007

Carbon nanotubes are known for exhibiting unique mechanical, electrical and thermal properties, useful for a wide range of applications in polymers. Young modulus of 1000 GPa and tensile strength of 60 GPa were measured on individual structure, which is several order of magnitude higher than common engineering plastics. High electrical and thermal conductivity were also determined experimentally, with value close or better than metals. With such combination of properties and a product form compatible with modern polymer processing technologies, possibilities of creating new engineered materials are offered. The use of carbon nanotubes for antistatic and conductive applications in polymers is already a commercial reality and is growing in sectors such as electronics and the automotive industry. Figure 1 shows a typical conductivity plot for an engineering thermoplastic. The loading for achieving electrical percolation with multi-wall carbon nanotubes can be 5-10 times lower than with conductive carbon black grades.

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