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Abstract: Polystyrene/multi-walled carbon nanotube (PS/MWCNT) nanocomposite foams were prepared in order to determine if these foams exhibited a reduced thermal conductivity in comparison to pristine polystyrene foam. The thermal conductivity of foams can be broken down into three modes of conduction: gas conductivity, solid conductivity, and radiative conductivity. The PS/MWCNT foams had decreased gas and radiative conductivities in comparison to the pristine PS foam; however, the solid conductivity was increased due to the added thermal conductivity of the nanotubes. An optimized content of 1 wt. % MWCNTs was determined which blocks as much radiative thermal energy as possible without causing the overall thermal conductivity to be higher than is practical for an insulating material.

Reference: Carbon, 93 (2015) 819-829

DOI: 10.1016/j.carbon.2015.06.003