Physical chemistry chemical physics : PCCP

Electromagnetic interference shielding in 1-18 GHz frequency and electrical property correlations in poly(vinylidene fluoride)-multi-walled carbon nanotube composites.

PMID 26194165


Electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding properties in the 1-18 GHz frequency range for multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWNT)-poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) composites are reported. A simple and gentle acid-treatment of MWNT showed a percolation threshold (PT) of 0.15 wt% in the PVDF matrix as against 0.35 wt% for unfunctionalized MWNT. Acid-treatment of MWNT significantly improves dispersion, interfacial adhesion with the matrix and the EMI shielding properties of PVDF composites. Further, the EMI shielding properties are correlated with the electrical properties. Using composite films of 0.3 mm thickness, the maximum shielding effectiveness (SET) values for 4 wt% unfunctionalized MWNT composites are found to be about 110, 45, 30, 26, and 58 dB for L (1-2 GHz), S (2-4 GHz), C (4-5.8 GHz), J (5.8-8 GHz), and X (8-12 GHz) bands, while the corresponding values for only 0.5 wt% acid functionalized MWNT composites are about 98, 45, 26, 19, and 47 dB, respectively. The electrical conductivity for both the cases is ∼10(-3) S cm(-1) and the weight contents of CNTs are higher than the PT for the respective composites. The comparable EMI SE and electrical conductivity values for both the composites at different weight fractions of CNTs suggest that there is a critical electrical conductivity above which the composites attain improved EMI shielding properties. Further, the shielding mechanism was found to be dominated by absorption loss. Therefore, the composites may also serve as a radar absorbing material.