Preparation and Characterization of Nanocomposites of Poly-P-Phenylene Benzobisthiazole with Graphene Nanosheets
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Poly-p-phenylene benzobisthiazole (PBT)/graphene nanocomposite films were fabricated using a simple method with methanesulfonic acid (MSA) as the processing solvent. In this approach, graphene nanosheets were exfoliated in the MSA solution of PBT using ultrasonication and mechanical stirring, and then processed into thin films. The structure and composition of as-prepared graphene oxide (GO) and reduced graphene oxides (rGO) were characterized by Raman spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The electrical conductivity of pristine PBT was enhanced by 10 orders of magnitude upon incorporation of 5 wt% rGO nanosheets. The enhanced conductivity of the nanocomposites was interpreted by the percolation model. The thermo-oxidative stability of PBT was improved with the incorporation of both GO and rGOs, while rGOs showed more pronounced effect. On addition of only 5 wt% GO, the tensile strength and Young's modulus of PBT increased by ~4-fold and ~7-fold, respectively, whereas relatively inferior tensile properties were observed for the PBT/rGO nanocomposites. The enhanced mechanical properties could be attributed to the molecular-level dispersion of the exfoliated GO nanosheets in PBT matrix, as evidenced by the results from morphological studies. A modified Halpin-Tsai model has been used to evaluate the reinforcement or orientation effects of GO/rGO on the Young's modulus of the nanocomposites.