Templating Extended-Chain Polyethylene Using Nano-Carbons and Shear Flow

Abstract

Polymer morphology plays a key role in the overall performance of the material. æBeing able to control atomic to macroscopic registry is therefore of key importance in the development of polymer-based materials. æIt has been shown that nano-carbons, like carbon nanotubes and graphitic platelets, have the ability to template extended-chain polymer morphology during crystallization under shear. æAn extended-chain polymer conformation has significant implications for producing mechanically exceptional materials where load is applied along the axial (chain) direction. æThis work looks at fundamental templating studies of platelet graphite nanofibers (PGN), single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNT), and carbon nanochips (CNC) on ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene. Characterization methods of the resultant materials include differential scanning calorimetry, electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction. The presence of extended-chain polyethylene is shown to be more prevalent in the presence of the nano-carbons. æMechanical analysis of composites produced show a 200% increase in stress, due to the presence of tailored extended-chain polyethylene morphology.