Full elastic constitutive relation of non-isotropic aligned-CNT/PDMS flexible nanocomposites.Nanoscale. 2013 Jun 07; 5(11):4847-54.N
The elastic response of vertically aligned-carbon nanotube/polydimethylsiloxane (A-CNT/PDMS) nanocomposites is presented in this study and related to the underlying aligned-CNT morphology. Multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) at 1% Vf are embedded in a flexible substrate of PDMS to create a flexible polymer nanocomposite (PNC). The PNC properties are evaluated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) and tensile mechanical tests, and the full linearly elastic constitutive relation is established for such a PNC. The results suggest that the CNTs retain the alignment after wetting and curing of PDMS. PDMS is significantly modified by the reinforcing aligned-CNT fibers, demonstrating non-isotropic (as opposed to the isotropic neat PDMS) elastic properties all different from PDMS (Young's modulus of 0.8 MPa), including an anisotropy ratio of 4.8 and increases in the modulus of A-CNT/PDMS over PDMS by more than 900% and 100%, in the CNT longitudinal and transverse directions, respectively. This study reports the first full constitutive relation that may be useful in modeling PNCs as composites or as elements of hierarchical nanoengineered composites, particularly PDMS-CNT PNCs are envisioned as elements in biomedical devices such as pressure transducers and energy harvesters.