Electroconductive Composites from Polystyrene Block Copolymers and Cu–Alumina Filler
Rehman, Aziz ur
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Technological advancements and development of new materials may lead to the manufacture of sustainable energy-conducting devices used in the energy sector. This research attempts to fabricate novel electroconductive and mechanically stable nanocomposites via an electroless deposition (ELD) technique using electrically insulating materials. Metallic Cu is coated onto Al2O3 by ELD, and the prepared filler is then integrated (2–14 wt %) into a matrix of polystyrene-block-poly(ethylene-ran-butylene)-block-polystyrene-graft-maleic anhydride (PS-b-(PE-r-B)-b-PS-g-MA). Considerable variations in composite phases with filler inclusion exist. The Cu crystallite growth onto Al2O3 was evaluated by X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis and energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS). Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) depicts a uniform Cu coating on Al2O3, while homogeneous filler dispersion is exhibited in the case of composites. The electrical behavior of composites is enhanced drastically (7.7 × 10−5 S/cm) upon incorporation of Cu–Al2O3 into an insulating polymer matrix (4.4 × 10−16 S/cm). Moreover, mechanical (Young’s modulus, tensile strength and % elongation at break) and thermal (thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), derivative thermogravimetry (DTG), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC)) properties of the nanocomposites also improve substantially. These composites are likely to meet the demands of modern high-strength electroconductive devices.