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Constructing a Microcapacitor Network of Carbon Nanotubes in Polymer Blends via Crystallization-Induced Phase Separation Toward High Dielectric Constant and Low Loss

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journal contribution
posted on 01.06.2020, 18:41 by Han-jun Mao, Dan-feng Liu, Nan Zhang, Ting Huang, Ines Kühnert, Jing-hui Yang, Yong Wang
Tailoring the distribution of nanoparticles and further constructing effective microcapacitors in polymer blends are important issues for developing high-performance polymer dielectric nanocomposites. The common method to control the selective localization of nanoparticles in an immiscible polymer blend is relatively difficult and it easily results in the accumulation of nanoparticles in one component, which usually leads to a dramatic increase of the dielectric loss in the nanocomposites. In this work, a novel strategy based on step-by-step crystallization has been proposed to tailor the refined distribution and dispersion of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in a melt-miscible blend poly­(butylene succinate)/poly­(vinylidene fluoride) (PBS/PVDF) through the crystallization-induced phase separation and the engineered interfacial affinity between CNTs and polymer components to acquire high dielectric constant and low dielectric loss. The results reveal that PBS is excluded along the growth front of PVDF spherulites and locates in the margin areas of PVDF spherulites during the step-by-step crystallization process. Moreover, because of the higher interfacial interaction between CNTs and PBS, CNTs are located in the PBS-rich domain, resulting in a high concentration of CNTs in the interspherulites of PVDF. Thus, the dielectric constants of the nanocomposites are greatly improved by nearly 5–24 times compared with the nanocomposites achieved by quick cooling and, simultaneously, the dielectric loss of the nanocomposites is still maintained at a low level. This work shows that the step-by-step crystallization method can be used to fabricate the nanocomposites with a synergistic increase in the dielectric performance due to the formation of a refined microcapacitor assembly. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report to show that the dielectric constant of the nanocomposites can be greatly enhanced just through the crystallization-optimized distribution and dispersion of CNTs in immiscible polymer blends, and it possibly gives a new technical route for the fabrication of advanced dielectric composites.