Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Dairy and Functional Foods Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #308762

Title: Manipulating dispersion and distribution of graphene in PLA through Novel Interface Engineering for improved conductive properties

item FU, YU - Washington State University
item Liu, Linshu
item ZHANG, JINWEN - Washington State University

Submitted to: ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/4/2014
Publication Date: 7/4/2014
Citation: Fu, Y., Liu, L.S., Zhang, J. 2014. Manipulating dispersion and distribution of graphene in PLA through Novel Interface Engineering for improved conductive properties . ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. 6:14069-14075. DOI: 10.1021/am503283f.

Interpretive Summary: Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) is an environmentally friendly bioplastic material derived from corn starch. Like many plastics, PLA is a strong and flexible material but it cannot conduct electricity like metals, which limits its usefulness in many applications. In this study, PLA was blended with particles that conduct electricity. So that the particles were evenly distributed within the PLA, commercially available adhesives were used to ensure the adhesion of the particles to the PLA. By controlling the distribution of the particles within the PLA, new highly conductive PLA composites were obtained. This research will contribute to the utilization of bioplastic materials in high-performance materials.

Technical Abstract: This study aimed to enhance the conductive properties of PLA nanocomposite by controlling the dispersion and distribution of graphene within the minor phase of the polymer blend. Functionalized graphene (f-GO) was achieved by reacting graphene oxide (GO) with various silanes under the aid of an ionic liquid. Ethylene/n-butyl acrylate/glycidyl methacrylate terpolymer elastomer (EBAGMA) was introduced as the minor phase to tailor the interface of matrix/graphene through reactive compatibilization. GO particles were predominantly dispersed in PLA in a self-agglomerating pattern, while f-GO was preferentially located in the introduced rubber phase or at the PLA/EBA-GMA interfaces through the formation of the three-dimensional percolated structures, especially for these functionalized graphene with reactive groups. The selective localization of the f-GO also played a crucial role in stabilizing and improving the phase morphology of the PLA blend through reducing the interfacial tension between two phases. The establishment of the percolated network structures in the ternary system was responsible for the improved AC conductivity and better dielectric properties of the resulting nanocomposites.