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Research Papers

Synthesis and Characterization of Dielectric Elastomer Nanocomposites Filled With Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes

[+] Author and Article Information
Yu Wang

Department of Chemical Engineering
and Materials Science,
University of California,
Irvine, CA 92697

L. Z. Sun

Department of Chemical Engineering
and Materials Science;
Department of Civil
and Environmental Engineering,
University of California,
Irvine, CA 92697
e-mail: lsun@uci.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Materials Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received June 10, 2016; final manuscript received September 14, 2016; published online February 9, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Xi Chen.

J. Eng. Mater. Technol 139(2), 021018 (Feb 09, 2017) (8 pages) Paper No: MATS-16-1177; doi: 10.1115/1.4035490 History: Received June 10, 2016; Revised September 14, 2016

Dielectric elastomers (DEs) have been attracting great attention in the field of electro-mechanical actuation and sensing. In this paper, we develop a new type of silicone-based DEs by incorporating multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) to the DEs as fillers. The dispersion of MWNTs during the material processing plays a significant role in deciding the final properties of the nanocomposites. In this work, acetone and ultrasonication along with characterization tools such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) are utilized to examine the MWNT dispersion quality within DE nanocomposites. Furthermore, microstructural MWNT dispersion and filler–matrix interfacial bonding as well as the overall dynamic mechanical responses are investigated to reveal the correlation between them. It is concluded that the processing of DE nanocomposites strongly affects the dynamic mechanical properties, which can inversely provide with microstructural information for the nanocomposites.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

DE nanocomposite processing steps

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Fig. 2

SEM micrograph of pristine MWNTs before the processing: (a) and (b) aggregates of MWNTs, (c) zoomed in view of the box in (b). Each individual MWNT can be seen from the aggregates in (c).

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Fig. 3

(a) SEM images of nanocomposites with 0.3 wt.% MWNTs processed without acetone and (b) zoomed in view of the box in (a)

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Fig. 4

(a) SEM images of nanocomposites with 0.3 wt.% MWNTs processed with acetone and (b) zoomed in view of the box in (a)

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Fig. 5

(a) SEM images of nanocomposites with 0.3 wt.% MWNTs processed with acetone without ultrasonication treatment and (b) zoomed in view of the box in (a)

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Fig. 6

(a) SEM images of nanocomposites with 0.3 wt.% MWNTs processed with acetone with 0.5 h ultrasonication treatment and (b) zoomed in view of the box in (a)

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Fig. 7

(a) SEM images of nanocomposites with 0.3 wt.% MWNTs processed with acetone with 4.0 h ultrasonication treatment and (b) zoomed in view of the box in (a)

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Fig. 8

TEM images of MWNTs processed with acetone and 4.0 h ultrasonication treatment. (a)–(c) show different MWNTs.

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Fig. 9

Dynamic strain sweeps of DE nanocomposites filled with 0.3 wt.% MWNTs processed with acetone and ultrasonication: (a) storage moduli, (b) loss moduli, and (c) loss factors under compression loading. The test frequency is 10 Hz.

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Fig. 10

Schematic image of the dispersion of MWNTs in DE nanocomposites

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