"Patchy" Carbon Nanotubes as Efficient Compatibilizers for Polymer Blends

Thomas Gegenhuber, Marina Krekhova, Judith Schöbel, André H. Gröschel*, Holger Schmalz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Surface-modified carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have become well-established filler materials for polymer nanocomposites. However, in immiscible polymer blends, the CNT-coating is selective toward the more compatible phase, which suppresses their homogeneous distribution and limits harnessing the full potential of the filler. In this study, we show that multiwalled CNTs with a patchy polystyrene/poly(methyl methacrylate) (PS/PMMA) corona disperse equally well in both phases of an incompatible PS/PMMA polymer blend. Unlike polymer-grafted CNTs with a uniform corona, the patchy CNTs are able to adjust their corona structure to the blend phases by selective swelling/collapse of respective miscible/immiscible surface patches. Importantly, the high interfacial activity of patchy CNTs further causes a significant decrease in PMMA droplet size with increasing filler content. The combined effect of compatibilization and homogeneous distribution makes patchy CNTs interesting materials for polymer blend nanocomposites, where next to the compatibilization, a homogeneous filler distribution is important to gain the desired materials property (e.g., reinforcement). (Figure Presented).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-310
Number of pages5
JournalACS Macro Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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