Advanced Functional Materials, Vol.18, No.23, 3759-3764, 2008
Spinning Carbon Nanotube-Gel Fibers Using Polyelectrolyte Complexation
Biopolymer-single walled carbon nanotube (SWNT)-biopolymer fibers were prepared using a continuous flow spinning approach. Polyelectrolyte complexation was facilitated by injecting a SWNT-biopolymer dispersion into a coagulation bath containing a biopolymer of opposite charge. We showed that the ability to spin fibers and their properties depend on processing conditions such as polyelectrolyte p-H, sonolysis regime (conditions employed to disperse SWNT) and the order of adding the anionic and cationic biopolymer solutions. Maximizing the ionic nature through changes in the pH increased spin-ability, while combining a sonicated dispersion with an as-prepared (non-sonicated) polyelectrolyte solution allowed us to optimize sonolysis conditions while retaining spin-ability of fibers with smooth surface morphology. Addition of the cationic biopolymer-SWNT dispersion to the anionic biopolymer solution resulted in mechanical reinforcement with the increase in SWNT loading fraction. All fibers decreased their electrical resistance upon exposure to water vapor.