Polymer Engineering and Science, Vol.37, No.7, 1127-1136, 1997
Electrical-Properties of Polymer Composites Prepared by Sintering a Mixture of Carbon-Black and Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight Polyethylene Powder
Conductive polymer composites were prepared by sintering a mixture of ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) powder and carbon black. Two processing parameters - time and temperature - were shown to have a notable effect on the resistivity of the composites. The relationships between the processing parameters and morphology were studied using optical microscopy and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The results of the optical microscopy studies indicate that the carbon black is distributed in the interfacial regions between the UHMWPE particles. The dimension of the carbon black channels increases with the carbon black concentration. TEM micrographs show that a high degree of intermixing between the carbon black and the polymer occurs at higher temperatures and longer processing times, resulting in higher resistivities. A positive temperature coefficient (PTC) effect was observed for these materials. A mechanism for the PTC effect in this system is proposed. The magnitude of the PTC effect is found to be inversely proportional to the dimension of the carbon black channels in the composites. The dimension is directly related to the carbon black concentration. The PTC effect is a result of the polymer volume expansion caused by melting of the crystallites, A large PTC effect is observed for the composites with a low carbon black concentration and vice versa. No negative temperature effect (NTC) is observed at temperatures substantially above the melting point of the polymer.