Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, Vol.59, No.13, 5838-5847, 2020
Selective Microwave Sintering to Prepare Multifunctional Poly(ether imide) Bead Foams Based on Segregated Carbon Nanotube Conductive Network
Carbon nanotube/poly(ether imide) (CNT/PEI) bead foam parts featuring a lightweight and segregated conductive network were prepared by a judicious combination of selective microwave (MW) sintering and carbon dioxide/tetrahydrofuran (CO2/THF) co-foaming. This way endowed the CNT/PEI conductive foam with adjustable cellular structure and tunable performance by simply changing the CNT content and MW processing condition. Owing to its unique structure, the CNT/PEI conductive foam (0.28 g/cm(3)) with a CNT content of 0.90 vol % presented a good electrical conductivity (20.7 S/m) and electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding performance (30.3 dB). In addition, the CNT/PEI conductive foam exhibited an ultralow percolation threshold (0.029 vol %) and presented superior piezoresistive performance under an applied pressure of 0-3.5 MPa and strain of 0-10%, due to the "condensation-recovery" transition mechanism of the integral CNT network of the conductive foam. This study provided an innovative approach to fabricate high-performance polymer bead foam parts with multifunctionality.