Graphite Nanoplatelet–Carbon Nanotube Hybrids for Electrical Conducting Polymer Composites
Due to their outstanding intrinsic functional properties, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and CNT-loaded composites have received intensive investigations in recent decades. The overall electrical conducting property of a composite is closely dependent on the dispersion, inherent electrical conductivity and interfacial interaction with the matrix of CNTs. However, owing to their high aspect ratio and intensive surface interaction, CNTs are hard to disperse homogeneously in polymer-based matrices. Amongst the ways of solving this issue, that of designing a reasonable CNT array hybrid construction could be a promising solution, without changing the inherent features of CNTs and the CNT–matrix interfacial chemical structure. In order to elevate both the intrinsic electrical conductivity of the hybrid and the construction efficiency of the conductive network in the matrix, a typical graphite nanoplatelet–carbon nanotube hybrid (GCH) was prepared. This chapter first outlines recent representative research developments in the microstructure, synthesis and applications of carbon nanomaterials and GCHs, and then summarises general strategies to optimise CNT dispersion in the matrix; moreover, concentrating on the crucial issues in dielectric and electrically conducting functional polymer-based composites. Possible regulation mechanisms of GCHs on the polymer crystalline structure, microcapacitor network development, conductive network construction and the overall electrical functional properties of the composites are analysed. Finally, a relatively comprehensive summary and several perspectives are provided to propose the critical challenges that need further research in this promising field.