Low color, flexible, space-durable polyimide films with inherent and robust electrical conductivity to dissipate electrostatic charge (ESC) have been under investigation as part of a materials development activity for future NASA space missions. The use of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) is one means to achieving this goal. Even though the concentration of SWCNTs needed to achieve ESC dissipation is typically low, it is dependent upon purity, size, dispersion, and functionalization. In this study, SWCNTs prepared by the electric arc discharge method were used to synthesize nanocomposites using the LaRC(TradeMark) CP2 backbone as the matrix. Pristine and functionalized SWCNTs were mixed with an alkoxysilane terminated amide acid of LaRC(TradeMark) CP2 and the soluble imide form of the polymer and the resultant nanocomposites evaluated for mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties. Due to the preparative conditions for the pristine and functionalized SWCNTs, the average aspect ratio for both was comparable. This permitted the assessment of SWCNT functionalization with respect to various interactions (e.g. van der Waals, hydrogen bonding, covalent bond formation, etc.) with the matrix and the macroscopic effects upon nanocomposite properties. The results of this study are described herein.
High Performance Polymers; 20; 6; 567-587