Modeling of interfacial modification effects on thermal conductivity of carbon nanotube composites

TC Clancy and TS Gates, POLYMER, 47, 5990-5996 (2006).

DOI: 10.1016/j.polymer.2006.05.062

The effect of functionalization of carbon nanotubes on the thermal conductivity of nanocomposites has been studied using a multi-scale modeling approach. These results predict that grafting linear hydrocarbon chains to the surface of a single wall carbon nanotube with covalent chemical bonds should result in a significant increase in the thermal conductivity of these nanocomposites. This is due to the decrease in the interfacial thermal (Kapitza) resistance between the single wall carbon nanotube and the surrounding polymer matrix upon chemical functionalization. The nanocomposites studied here consist of single wall carbon nanotubes in a bulk poly(ethylene vinyl acetate) matrix. The nanotubes are functionalized by end-grafting linear hydrocarbon chains of varying length to the surface of the nanotube. The effect which this functionalization has on the interfacial thermal resistance is studied by molecular dynamics simulation. Interfacial thermal resistance values are calculated for a range of chemical grafting densities and with several chain lengths. These results are subsequently used in an analytical model to predict the resulting effect on the bulk thermal conductivity of the nanocomposite. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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