Carbon nanotubes have generated intense interest in the scientific community for a host of applications, ranging from large scale structures to automobiles to nanometer-scale electronics.
Carbon nanotubes have generated intense interest in the scientific community for a host of applications, ranging from large scale structures to automobiles to nanometer-scale electronics.

Abstract

The emergence of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) has created new opportunities for the fabrication of polymer composites that possess strong potential for a wide spectrum of applications. Numerous significant advances have been attained to date, and more technological challenges await the optimisation of a system to fill the gap between expectations and practical performance.

Despite this tremendous progress, challenging issues related to directional alignment and CNT assembly within a polymer matrix still remain. This review presents the development of contemporary approaches in the directional alignment of CNTs in polymer matrices, with particular emphasis being placed on the recent progress, exciting breakthroughs and active pursuit in improving CNT alignments through different approaches.

Conclusions

Advances and reliability of a nanocomposite material require the careful design of processing methods to ultimately realize the desired characteristics at a modest cost. Despite days of great expectation, hope and hype, the world is beginning to accept that current technology is still several steps away from achieving cost benefits. Furthermore, it is difficult to draw definite conclusions about the improved properties from the results published in open literature due to the challenges in ensuring the reproducibility of a wide range of approaches.

For the time being, fully replacing the currently available materials in foreseeable future is unlikely. However, it is anticipated that with continuing advances in the development of CNT alignment approaches in a polymer matrix, the application range of this nanocomposite can be enormously promoted and expanded. 

Authors

P.S. Goh, A.F. Ismail and B.C. Ng, Advanced Membrane Technology Research Centre (AMTEC), Faculty of Petroleum and Renewable Energy Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor, Malaysia.

Further information

This paper was published in Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing, Volume 56, January 2014, pages 103-126 and is available on ScienceDirect.com.