Surface nanogrooving of carbon microtubes
Extrusion processing of carbon tubes can be problematic due to their poor interfacial interactions with polymeric matrices. Surface chemical modification of carbon tubes can be utilized to create bonding sites to form networks with polymer chains. However, chemical reactions resulting in intermolecular primary bonding limit processability of extrudate, since they cause unstable rheological behaviour, and thus decrease the stock holding time, which is determinative in extrusion. This study presents a method for the synthesis of carbon microtubes with physically modified surface area to improve the filler and matrix interfacial interactions. The key concept is the formation of a nanogrooved topography, through acoustic cavitation on the surface of processing fibres. The effect of nanogrooving on roughness parameters is described, along with the role of surface modified carbon tubes on rheological behaviour, homogeneity, and coherency of extrudate. The measurements showed that nanogrooving increases the surface area of carbon microtubes, as a result, die swelling of the extrudate is reduced. Furthermore, after solidification, the mechanical strength of composite is reinforced due to stronger interactions between nanogrooved carbon tubes and polymer matrix.