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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 614797, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/614797
Research Article

A Numerical Study on Electrical Percolation of Polymer-Matrix Composites with Hybrid Fillers of Carbon Nanotubes and Carbon Black

Institute of Solid Mechanics, Beihang University, Beijing 100191, China

Received 28 July 2013; Accepted 22 January 2014; Published 9 March 2014

Academic Editor: Fathallah Karimzadeh

Copyright © 2014 Yuli Chen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The electrical percolation of polymer-matrix composites (PMCs) containing hybrid fillers of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and carbon black (CB) is estimated by studying the connection possibility of the fillers using Monte Carlo simulation. The 3D simulation model of CB-CNT hybrid filler is established, in which CNTs are modeled by slender capped cylinders and CB groups are modeled by hypothetical spheres with interspaces because CB particles are always agglomerated. The observation on the effects of CB and CNT volume fractions and dimensions on the electrical percolation threshold of hybrid filled composites is then carried out. It is found that the composite electrical percolation threshold can be reduced by increasing CNT aspect ratio, as well as increasing the diameter ratio of CB groups to CNTs. And adding CB into CNT composites can decrease the CNT volume needed to convert the composite conductivity, especially when the CNT volume fraction is close to the threshold of PMCs with only CNT filler. Different from previous linear assumption, the nonlinear relation between CB and CNT volume fractions at composite percolation threshold is revealed, which is consistent with the synergistic effect observed in experiments. Based on the nonlinear relation, the estimating equation for the electrical percolation threshold of the PMCs containing CB-CNT hybrid fillers is established.