Free-standing nanopapers based on graphene and its related materials have been widely studied and proposed for flexible heat spreader applications. Given that these materials are typically brittle, this work reports the exploitation of polycaprolactone (PCL) as a polymer binder to enhance resistance and flexibility of nanopapers based on graphite nanoplates (GNP), while maintaining a high thermal conductivity. Properties of nanopapers appear to correlate with the excellent PCL adhesion and strong nucleation of the surface of GNP flakes. Furthermore, different crystalline populations were observed for PCL within the nanopaper and were investigated in detail via differential scanning calorimetry advanced techniques and X-ray diffraction. These demonstrated the coexistence of conventional unoriented PCL crystals, oriented PCL crystals obtained as a consequence of the strong nucleation effect, and highly stable PCL fractions explained by the formation of crystalline pre-freezing layers, the latter having melting temperatures well above the equilibrium melting temperature for pristine PCL. This peculiar crystallization behavior of PCL, reported in this paper for the first time for a tridimensional structure, has a direct impact on material properties. Indeed, the presence of high thermal stability crystals, strongly bound to GNP flakes, coexisting with the highly flexible amorphous fraction, delivers an ideal solution for the strengthening and toughening of GNP nanopapers. Thermomechanical properties of PCL/GNP nanopapers, investigated both on a heating ramp and by creep tests at high temperatures, demonstrated superior stiffness well above the conventional melting temperature of PCL. At the same time, a thermal conductivity > 150 W/m·K was obtained for PCL/GNP nanopapers, representing a viable alternative to traditional metals in terms of heat dissipation, while affording flexibility and light weight, unmatched by conventional thermally conductive metals or ceramics. Besides the obtained performance, the formation of polymer crystals that are stable above the equilibrium melting temperature constitutes a novel approach in the self-assembly of highly ordered nanostructures based on graphene and related materials.

Polycaprolactone Adsorption and Nucleation onto Graphite Nanoplates for Highly Flexible, Thermally Conductive, and Thermomechanically Stiff Nanopapers

Li K.;Monticelli O.;
2021

Abstract

Free-standing nanopapers based on graphene and its related materials have been widely studied and proposed for flexible heat spreader applications. Given that these materials are typically brittle, this work reports the exploitation of polycaprolactone (PCL) as a polymer binder to enhance resistance and flexibility of nanopapers based on graphite nanoplates (GNP), while maintaining a high thermal conductivity. Properties of nanopapers appear to correlate with the excellent PCL adhesion and strong nucleation of the surface of GNP flakes. Furthermore, different crystalline populations were observed for PCL within the nanopaper and were investigated in detail via differential scanning calorimetry advanced techniques and X-ray diffraction. These demonstrated the coexistence of conventional unoriented PCL crystals, oriented PCL crystals obtained as a consequence of the strong nucleation effect, and highly stable PCL fractions explained by the formation of crystalline pre-freezing layers, the latter having melting temperatures well above the equilibrium melting temperature for pristine PCL. This peculiar crystallization behavior of PCL, reported in this paper for the first time for a tridimensional structure, has a direct impact on material properties. Indeed, the presence of high thermal stability crystals, strongly bound to GNP flakes, coexisting with the highly flexible amorphous fraction, delivers an ideal solution for the strengthening and toughening of GNP nanopapers. Thermomechanical properties of PCL/GNP nanopapers, investigated both on a heating ramp and by creep tests at high temperatures, demonstrated superior stiffness well above the conventional melting temperature of PCL. At the same time, a thermal conductivity > 150 W/m·K was obtained for PCL/GNP nanopapers, representing a viable alternative to traditional metals in terms of heat dissipation, while affording flexibility and light weight, unmatched by conventional thermally conductive metals or ceramics. Besides the obtained performance, the formation of polymer crystals that are stable above the equilibrium melting temperature constitutes a novel approach in the self-assembly of highly ordered nanostructures based on graphene and related materials.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1066864
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