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BRIAN GRADY, Ph.D.Douglas and Hilda Bourne Chair in Chemical EngineeringDirector, Institute for Applied Surfactant ResearchUniversity of OklahomaNorman, OK
Carbon nanotubes are in many ways similar to polymers. Both molecules have contour lengths typically on the order of 1 micron, and, for single-walled tubes, diameters between 0.5 and 1 nm. In terms of physics, the significant difference between the two is the significantly larger inflexibility of a nanotube, which is quantified by an orders-of-magnitude larger persistence length.
This talk will describe how nanotube and polymer physics interact with one another in composites of the two materials. The application that by far uses the highest volumes of nanotubes are those that involve electrical conduction. We will describe our work in elucidating how different parameters affect the electrical conductivity of nanotube-polymer composites. More recent work on how nanotubes can influence the morphology of immiscible blends as well as strengthen the interface between immiscible blends will be covered in detail as well as some preliminary work on how to make very long nanotubes in an industrially relevant manner.