Two series of polyurethane (PU) and carbon nanotubes (CNT) based composites with 0.0, 0.25, 0.5 and 1.0 mass% of CNT were obtained from diluting a commercial masterbatch with 30 mass% CNT and using two different dispersion methods. The quality of the dispersions was assessed using optical microscopy, and scanning and transmission electron microscopies. These tests showed that high controlled shear stress is necessary to produce composites with nanoscale dispersion: the elastic modulus improved by an average of 38% in the case of the high-shear dispersed materials in comparison with the neat polymer. A specific fatigue test conducted by dynamic mechanical analysis was first used in this work to compare the neat PU with the CNT/PU nanocomposites. The number of cycles to failure increased from 2700 for the neat polymer to 3200 for the 0.5 mass% CNT based nanocomposite; the elongation at failure increased by 145% in the test conditions.
carbon nanotubes; elastomeric polyurethane; mechanical properties; fatigue