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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Drexel University
  • Christopher Li
  • (215) 895-2083
Award Date:06/04/2008
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 300,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 538,249
  • FY 2009=$106,250
  • FY 2011=$231,999
  • FY 2008=$100,000
  • FY 2010=$100,000
Start Date:06/15/2008
End Date:05/31/2013
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.049
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Carbon Nanotube Induced Polymer Crystallization, Structure and Morphology
Federal Award ID Number:0804838
DUNS ID:002604817
Parent DUNS ID:002604817
Program Officer:
  • Andrew Lovinger
  • (703) 292-4933

Awardee Location

Street:1505 Race St, 10th Floor
Awardee Cong. District:03

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Drexel University
Street:1505 Race St, 10th Floor
Cong. District:03

Abstract at Time of Award

TECHNICAL SUMMARY: The extraordinary mechanical, electrical and optical properties of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have attracted great attention in recent years. The demand for products containing CNTs has created a pressing need to transfer these properties from nano- to macro- scale. One essential step towards this goal is assembling/processing CNTs, which involves dispersing them in an organic solvent/polymeric matrix. To this end, soft materials, polymers in particular, have been used to modify CNT surfaces. By using a controlled solution polymer crystallization method, the PI?s lab recently demonstrated that polymer lamellar single crystals could grow on CNT surface, leading to an intriguing hybrid nanostructure named as Nano Hybrid Shish Kebab (NHSK). NHSK provides a unique nanoscale platform that can be used for a variety of applications. The proposed research aims at systematically studying the structure and formation mechanism of this unique hybrid system. Specifically, the PI will, 1) fabricate NHSKs using a variety of crystallization conditions and explore the correlation between crystallization conditions and NHSK features such as periodicity as well as the kebab sizes; 2) demonstrate that NHSK is a general feature for CNT-crystalline polymer systems. The generality of the NHSK is two-fold: a) NHSK could form for different types of CNTs as well as for a variety of crystalline polymers; b) NHSK can be formed not only by solution crystallization, but also by other crystallization techniques such as physical vapor deposition of crystalline polymers as well as bulk crystallization; 3) fabricate uniformly patterned NHSK using block copolymers (BCPs). Semicrystalline BCPs will be used to form CNT/BCP NHSKs. It is anticipated that the uniformity of the NHSK structure could be improved by using BCPs instead of homopolymers. Because crystalline polymers can be readily functionalized, this approach represents a unique way to functionalize CNT and it is different from all the other reported methods. NHSK also provides a platform to realize numerous possible applications of CNTs, ranging from nanocomposites, sensors to catalysis supports. BCP NHSKs could open the door to patterning on CNTs with a precise periodicity control, which is one of the major hurdles for applying CNTs in nano electronics. NONTECHNICAL SUMMARY: Due to their wonderful mechanical, electrical and optical properties, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been proven to be one of the most fascinating materials recently discovered. One of the major challenges of bringing CNTs to the marketplace is their poor processibility. To this end, the PI?s lab recently discovered that polymer single crystals could grow on CNTs in a controllable manner. Since polymers can be easily end-functionalized, this discovery immediately leads to a unique CNT functionalization technique which is different from all the existing methods. The hybrid structure generated, named as nano hybrid shish kebabs (NHSK), possesses much higher specific surface area compared to that of pristine CNTs. This could facilitate using CNTs in sensor and catalysis support applications. The crystalline nature of the kebabs also enables a more efficient mechanical load transfer, which could directly lead to stronger composite materials. The educational component of the proposal includes: 1) addressing the need for the education of modern developments in polymer nanoscience and nanotechnology by developing a ?Hybrid Polymeric Materials? module which will be used in the ?Nanostructured Polymeric Materials? course; 2) involving high school students and teachers, particularly under-represented populations, in the proposed research activities. These proposed educational activities encompass a broad impact. First, the proposed plan will help bridge the existing gap between levels of educational developments by involving high school students and teachers in research activities through a number of mentoring programs. Secondly, due to the high population of under-represented groups in the Philadelphia region, the proposed outreach program will be specifically geared towards encouraging the participation of under-represented populations. Thirdly, the proposed research results will be widely disseminated through publications in scientific journals, conference presentations and more highly trained secondary education teachers.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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Li, B; Li, LY; Wang, BB; Li, CY "Alternating patterns on single-walled carbon nanotubes" NATURE NANOTECHNOLOGY, v.4, 2009, p.358. doi:10.1038/NNANO.2009.9  View record at Web of Science

Li, CY "Polymer Single Crystal Meets Nanoparticles" JOURNAL OF POLYMER SCIENCE PART B-POLYMER PHYSICS, v.47, 2009, p.2436. doi:10.1002/polb.2185  View record at Web of Science

Bing Li, Lingyu Li, Bingbing Wang and Christopher Y. Li "Alternating patterns on single-walled carbon" Nature nanotechnology, v., 2009, p.. doi:DOI: 10.1038/NNANO.2009.91 

Li, LY; Li, B; Hood, MA; Li, CY "Carbon nanotube induced polymer crystallization: The formation of nanohybrid shish-kebabs" POLYMER, v.50, 2009, p.953. doi:10.1016/j.polymer.2008.12.03  View record at Web of Science

Dong, B.; Wang, W.; Miller, D. L.; Li, C. Y.* "Polymer Single Crystal as Magnetically Recoverable Support for Nanocatalysts" J. Phys. Chem. Lett., v.3, 2012, p.1346.

Wang, W., Laird, E. D.; Li, B., Li L.; Li, C. Y. "Tuning periodicity of polymer-decorated carbon nanotubes" Sci. Chi. Chem., v.55, 2012, p.802.

Li, LY; Wang, WD; Laird, ED; Li, CY; Defaux, M; Ivanov, DA "Polyethylene/carbon nanotube nano hybrid shish-kebab obtained by solvent evaporation and thin-film crystallization" POLYMER, v.52, 2011, p.3633. doi:10.1016/j.polymer.2011.05.00  View record at Web of Science

Laird, ED; Wang, WD; Cheng, S; Li, B; Presser, V; Dyatkin, B; Gogotsi, Y; Li, CY "Polymer Single Crystal-Decorated Superhydrophobic Buckypaper with Controlled Wetting and Conductivity" ACS NANO, v.6, 2012, p.1204. doi:10.1021/nn203861  View record at Web of Science

Wang, WD; Laird, ED; Gogotsi, Y; Li, CY "Bending single-walled carbon nanotubes into nanorings using a Pickering emulsion-based process" CARBON, v.50, 2012, p.1769. doi:10.1016/j.carbon.2011.12.02  View record at Web of Science

Chen, X; Dong, B; Wang, BB; Shah, R; Li, CY "Crystalline Block Copolymer Decorated, Hierarchically Ordered Polymer Nanofibers" MACROMOLECULES, v.43, 2010, p.9918. doi:10.1021/ma101900  View record at Web of Science

Wang, BB; Li, B; Xiong, J; Li, CY "Hierarchically Ordered Polymer Nanofibers via Electrospinning and Controlled Polymer Crystallization" MACROMOLECULES, v.41, 2008, p.9516. doi:10.1021/ma801971  View record at Web of Science

Li, CY "Anisotropy unnecessary" NATURE MATERIALS, v.8, 2009, p.249. doi:10.1038/nmat241  View record at Web of Science

Project Outcomes Report


This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

Intellectual merit: Due
to their wonderful mechanical, electrical and optical properties, carbon
nanotubes (CNTs) have been proven to be one of the most fascinating materials recently discovered.  CNT-containing polymer nanocomposites are lighter, stronger and can be made electrically and thermally conductive. These attractive properties call for systematic study on CNT-polymer blends.  In this project, the PI’s lab systematically studied how CNT can induce polymer crystallization, which in turn, affect polymer properties. A novel hybrid structure was discovered, named nano hybrid shish kebab. These tiny structures are formed because one nanotube can induce crystallization of many polymer crystals, and the shape of the structure is similar to that of a shish kebab. The PI’s lab further development many different ways to form this unique structure and explored its applications. Two prominent examples are make a piece of paper using the shish kebabs; the porous paper has very unique property including electric conducting, strong, and wets water like Lotus or Rose. We anticipate it can find applications in electrodes for electrochemical devices and coating. The second example is using the same principle to mimick natural bone. This can be significant for bone tissue engineering.

Broader impact: We have used our results in class room teaching by developing a “Hybrid Polymeric Materials module in the “Nanostructured Polymeric Materials” course. We actively participated in various outreach activities including Materials Camp and Philly materials Day. Since year 2011, Drexel Materials Department hosts Philly Materials day every year. It’s a daylong event, which is attended by over 1,000 K-12 students and their parents. The PIs lab actively participated the events.   We have published 19 peer reviewed journal papers, 3 book chapter and delivered over 30 invited talks. 2 PhD, 4 BS/MS have graduated.  



Last Modified: 08/31/2013
Modified by: Christopher Li

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