Polymer Engineering Faculty Research


Composites of carbon nanofibers and thermoplastic polyurethanes with shape memory properties prepared by chaotic mixing

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2009


Composites of carbon nanofibers (CNFs), oxidized carbon nanofibers (ox-CNFs), and shape-memory thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) were prepared in a chaotic mixer and their shape-memory properties evaluated. The polymer was synthesized from 4,4′-diphenylmethane diisocyanate, 1,4-butanediol chain extender, and semicrystalline poly(ε-caprolactone) diol soft segments. The shape-memory action was triggered by both conductive and resistive heating. It was found that soft segment crystallinity and mechanical reinforcement by nanofibers produced competing effects on shape-memory properties. A large reduction in soft segment crystallinity in the presence of CNF and stronger mechanical reinforcement by well-dispersed ox-CNF determined the shape-memory properties of the respective composites. It was found that the maximum shape recovery force, respectively, 3 and 4 MPa, was obtained in the cases of 5 and 1 wt% CNF and ox-CNF, respectively, compared with ∼1.8 MPa for unfilled TPU. The degree of soft segment and hard segment phase separation and thermal stability of the composites were analyzed. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 2009. © 2009 Society of Plastics Engineers.



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