Synthesis and Characterization of the Electrospun PVA–CNT Nanofibers at Different Mass Ratios by Atomic Force Microscopy
Incorporation of conductive nanoparticles such as single walled carbon nanotube (CNT) in polymer nanofibers through an optimized electrospinning processes is reported here. CNT based nanocomposite nanofibers were electrospun successfully by mixing 0.1%, 0.5% and 1% CNT with 8% Poly Vinyl Alcohol (PVA) solution yielding smooth nanofibers. Our experiments with currently optimized electrospinning parameters and a concentration of CNT beyond 1% did not yield a smooth nanofiber anymore. PeakForce Quantitative NanoMechanical (PF-QNM) module of Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was utilized in this study to evaluate the morphological and nanomechanical properties of the CNT–PVA nanofibers. Peak Force curves (PFC) were also collected in separate files to quantitatively assess the Derjaguin–Müller–Toporov (DMT) modulus of CNT–PVA nanofibers. The DMT modulus of nanofibers increased with increasing CNT concentration in CNT–PVA nanofibers. The DMT modulus (Rq or Rms value) of nanofibers obtained from 8% PVA base solution alone was 137 ± 33 MPa while a doping with increasing CNT concentration imparted an increased stiffness to the PVA nanofibers and was analyzed to find 446 ± 76 MPa for 0.1%, 731 ± 190 MPa for 0.5% and 970 ± 173 MPa for 1% CNT. A voltage of 25kv was found to be most optimal.
Index Terms - Poly vinyl alcohol, Carbon nanotubes, Electrospinning, Nanofibers.