Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) possess unique mechanical and optical properties, and excellent electrical and thermal conductivitiesalong with chemical stability. These remarkable characteristics can be applied to engineering applications. The electrical, mechanical, and physical properties of the polymeric materials can be improved by incorporating a small amount of CNTs.

However, the dispersion and alignment of CNTs have been problematic for these applications because CNTs are present in the form of bundles and ropes due to long range lateral Van der Waals interactions. Several approaches, such as chemical functionalization, wrapping, etc., have been used to obtain a good dispersion. Among them, chemical modification approaches have become popular.
Generally, CNTs are inert and stable against chemical reaction. Covalent modification of CNTs requires harsh reaction conditions insuperacids, which are known to significantly damage CNTs. To reduce demages, we have been optimized our own method; Friedel-Crafts acylation reaction in poly(phosphoric acid) (PPA) with phosphorous pentoxide (P2O5) as a drying reagent. PPA is known to be milder and much less corrosive than super acid media such as sulfuric and nitric acids which are known to damage CNTs.

Research topic

  • In-Situ Polymerization of High Performance Polymers with Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs)
  • Chemical Modification of Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube (MWNT) for Energy Related Materials

Further reading

Sponge Behaviors of Functionalized Few Wall Carbon Nanotubes
Jeon, I.-Y.; Choi, J. I.; Lee, S. K.; Chae, H. G.; Jang, S.-S.; Kumar, S.; Baek, J.-B. J. Phys. Chem. C 114, 14868-14875 (2010) 
Water-dispersible, sulfonated hyperbranched poly(ether-ketone) grafted multi-walled carbon nanotubes as oxygen reduction catalysts
Sohn, G.-J.; Choi, H.-J.; Jeon, I.-Y.; Chang, D. W.; Dai, L.; Baek, J.-B. ACS Nano 6, 6345-6355 (2012)