Percolation threshold and morphology of composites of conducting carbon black/polypropylene/EVA
Conducting carbon black (CB), one of the intrinsic semi-conductors, was added into matrix polypropylene (PP) to prepare conducting composites by means of the melt processing method. Another component EVA was mixed into the composites in order to lower the percolation threshold. The percolation threshold of the ternary CB/PP/EVA composites was merely 3.8 vol%, while it was up to 7.8 vol% for the binary CB/PP composites without EVA. The conductivity of the ternary CB/PP/EVA composites was up to 10 -2 S/cm when the CB percentage was 5 vol%, while that of the binary CB/PP was lower than 10 -2 S/cm when the CB percentage was up to 10 vol%. DSC thermograms of the CB/PP/EVA composites showed that the melting peak shifted to low temperature with increasing CB content. The addition of CB and EVA resulted in the decrease of the crystallinity of PP in the ternary composites. The mechanical properties are also discussed. SEM and TEM were employed to study the morphology of the blend system. The results indicated that CB existed in the form of aggregations in the blend system. The smallest unit that formed a percolation network was grape-like aggregates with some small branches, which consisted of some CB particles, rather than the individual particles. This distribution was very valuable for forming conducting paths and for lowering the percolation value.