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      Positive temperature coefficient thermistors based on carbon nanotube/polymer composites

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          In order to explore availability of carbon nanotube (CNT)-based positive temperature coefficient (PTC) thermistors in practical application, we prepared carbon nanotube (CNT) filled high density polyethylene (HDPE) composites by using conventional melt-mixing methods, and investigated their PTC effects in details. The CNT-based thermistors exhibit much larger hold current and higher hold voltage, increasing by 129% in comparison with the commercial carbon black (CB) filled HDPE thermistors. Such high current-bearing and voltage-bearing capacity for the CNT/HDPE thermistors is mainly attributed to high thermal conductivity and heat dissipation of entangled CNT networks. Moreover, the CNT/HDPE thermistors exhibit rapid electrical response to applied voltages, comparable to commercial CB-based thermistors. In light of their high current-bearing capacity and quick response, the CNT-based thermistors have great potential to be used as high-performance thermistors in practical application, especially in some critical circumstances of high temperature, large applied currents, and high applied voltages.

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          Materials science: nanotube composites.

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            Design and reinforcement: vertically aligned carbon nanotube-based sandwich composites.

            Carbon nanotube (CNT) reinforcement of polymer composites has not yielded optimum results in that the composite properties are typically compromised by poor dispersion and random orientation of CNTs in polymers. Given the short lengths available for nanotubes, opportunities lie in incorporating CNTs with other structural reinforcements such as carbon fibers (CFs) to achieve improvement over existing composite designs. Growth of vertically aligned CNTs (VACNTs) offers new avenues for designing high-performance composites by integrating CFs and nanotubes into layered 3D architectures. To obtain composites with high rigidity and damping, we have designed and fabricated VACNT-based sandwich composites from simply stacking the freestanding VACNTs and CF fabrics and infiltrating with epoxy matrix. Comparing with the CF/epoxy laminates, the VACNT-based sandwich composites exhibit higher flexural rigidity and damping, which is achieved due to the effective integration of the VACNTs as an interfacial layer between the CF stacks. Furthermore, the lighter weight of these VACNT-based sandwich composites offers advantages in aerospace and transportation applications.
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              Direct current conductivity of carbon nanofiber-based conductive polymer composites: effects of temperature and electric field.

              Polymer composites based on high density polyethylene (HDPE) and carbon nanofiber (CNF) were fabricated by melt compounding. The dependences of electrical conductivity of HDPE-CNF composites on filler concentration, temperature, and applied electric field were investigated. The results showed that the conductivity of the HDPE-CNF composites follows the scaling law of percolation theory. Increasing temperature caused a sharp increase in the resistivity of HDPE-CNF composites near the melting temperature of HDPE, yielding a positive temperature coefficient (PTC) effect of resistance. The potential mechanisms involved in the PTC effect of such composites were analyzed. An investigation of the effect of electric field on the conductivity of HDPE-CNF composites revealed the presence of tunneling conduction. The tunneling conductivity increased with increasing filler content because of high tunneling frequency, and decreased with rising temperature as a result of gap widening between conducting CNF fillers.

                Author and article information

                [1 ]Shenyang National Laboratory for Materials Science, Institute of Metal Research , Chinese Academy of Sciences, 72 Wenhua Road, Shenyang 110016, People's Republic of China
                [2 ]School of Materials Science and Engineering, Shandong University , Jinan, Shandong 250061, People's Republic of China
                [3 ]School of Materials Science and Engineering, Shenyang Jianzhu University , 9 Hunan East Road, Shenyang 110168, People's Republic of China
                Author notes
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group
                20 October 2014
                : 4
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