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Conductive Cable Fibers with Insulating Surface Prepared by Coaxial Electrospinning of Multiwalled Nanotubes and Cellulose

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posted on 13.09.2010, 00:00 by Minoru Miyauchi, Jianjun Miao, Trevor J. Simmons, Jong-Won Lee, Thomas V. Doherty, Jonathan S. Dordick, Robert J. Linhardt
Core−sheath multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWNT)−cellulose fibers of diameters from several hundreds of nanometers to several micrometers were prepared by coaxial electrospinning from a nonvolatile, nonflammable ionic liquid (IL) solvent, 1-methyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate ([EMIM][Ac]). MWNTs were dispersed in IL to form a gel solution. This gel core solution was electrospun surrounded by a sheath solution of cellulose dissolved in the same IL. Electrospun fibers were collected in a coagulation bath containing ethanol−water to remove the IL completely and dried to form core−sheath MWNT−cellulose fibers having a cable structure with a conductive core and insulating sheath. Enzymatic treatment of a portion of a mat of these fibers with cellulase selectively removed the cellulose sheath exposing the MWNT core for connection to an electrode. These MWNT−cellulose fiber mats demonstrated excellent conductivity because of a conductive pathway of bundled MWNTs. Fiber mat conductivity increased with increasing ratio of MWNT in the fibers with a maximum conductivity of 10.7 S/m obtained at 45 wt % MWNT loading.

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