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Dispersion of Carbon Nanotubes Into Polymer Matrices to Produce Unique Properties

The present invention addresses the effective dispersion of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) into polymer matrices. The nanocomposites are prepared using polymer matrices and exhibit a unique combination of properties, most notably, high retention of optical transparency in the visible range (i.e., 400 to 800 nm), electrical conductivity, and high thermal stability.

By appropriate selection of the matrix resin, additional properties such as vacuum ultraviolet radiation resistance, atomic oxygen resistance, high glass transition (Tg) temperatures, and excellent toughness can be attained. The resulting nanocomposites can be used to fabricate or formulate a variety of articles such as coatings on a variety of substrates, films, foams, fibers, threads, adhesives, and fiber-coated prepreg. The properties of the nanocomposites can be adjusted by selection of the polymer matrix and CNT to fabricate articles that possess high optical transparency and antistatic behavior.

This work was done by Joseph G. Smith, John W. Connell, and Joycelyn S. Harrison of Langley Research Center; Cheol Park and Kent A. Watson of National Research Council; and Zoubeida Ounaies of Universities Space Research Association. LAR-16383-1