Date of Award

12-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Chemistry

Advisor

Sun, Ya-Ping

Committee Member

Bhattacharyya , Gautam

Committee Member

Dominy , Brian

Committee Member

Hirt , Douglas E.

Abstract

Excellent thermal properties of carbon nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes and newly discovered graphene make them the filler of choice for the development of thermal management materials. Graphene has been viewed as “ unrolled single-walled carbon nanotube and as a wonder material with many superlatives to its name ” thus there is an excessive interest in developing new synthetic routes towards large scale production of high quality graphene nanosheets.
In this dissertation, we report different methods that could further exfoliate the commercially available expanded graphite to nanometer sized carbon structures, “carbon nanosheets ”, for their use in highly thermal conductive polymeric nanocomposites. Initially, an overview of recent advances in the development of thermal conductive polymeric/carbon nanocomposites is provided. Then, the “ carbon nanosheets ” from the specific processes will carefully be characterized by spectroscopic techniques and the effectiveness of the processing methods is demonstrated in terms of polymeric carbon nanocomposites thermal diffusivity. While the focus of this manuscript will be on the enhancement of thermal diffusivity we will also discuss the chemical modification and functionalization of these “ carbon nanosheets ” with matrix polymer. Finally, the critical research opportunities and challenges in the development of functional graphene nanocomposites for thermal management materials will be discussed.

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