We constructed a new type of light-weight, nanocarbon based thin film material having good mechanical properties, thermal stability, and electromagnetic shielding efficiency. Our method, 3D printing combined with hot pressing, is a cheap and industrially upscalable process. First a sandwich structure was created by layer-to-layer deposition of alternating 100 μm thick nanocarbon containing plastic layers and 100 μm thick pristine plastic layers, repeated as building blocks. The 3D printed samples were hot pressed to obtain thin films of 10–30 μm thickness. We used a commercial nanocarbon 3D printing filament (Black Magic). TEM investigations revealed the nanocarbon filler to be a mixture of graphene sheets, short carbon nanotubes, fishbone nanotubes, graphitic nanoparticles, and carbon black. Small-angle X-ray scattering and X-ray diffraction studies showed some amorphization of the nanocarbon filler as a consequence of the hot pressing. The nanoindentation hardness, nanoscratch hardness, and Young's modulus increase gradually by increasing the number of layers in the films, due to an increase of the amount of nanocarbon filler. Microwave absorption also increases continuously with the number of nanocarbon layers, reaching 40% for 3 nanocarbon layers. We demonstrate that unlike most conventional composites loaded with nanocarbons having pronounced dielectric properties, when the real part of permittivity Re(ε) is much higher than its imaginary part Im(ε) at high frequencies, a combination of 3D printing and hot pressing allows the fabrication of composites with Re ε ≈ Im ε in a very broad frequency range (0.2–0.6 THz). Our new 3D printed—hot pressed thin films may compete with the CVD graphene sandwiches in electromagnetic shielding applications because of their easier processability and low cost.
Mechanical and electromagnetic properties of 3D printed hot pressed nanocarbon/poly(lactic) acid thin films
R. Kotsilkova, E. Ivanov, P. Todorov, I. Petrova, N. Volynets, A. Paddubskaya, P. Kuzhir, V. Uglov, I. Biró, K. Kertész, G. I. Márk, L. P. Biró; Mechanical and electromagnetic properties of 3D printed hot pressed nanocarbon/poly(lactic) acid thin films. J. Appl. Phys. 14 February 2017; 121 (6): 064105. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4975820
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