The behavior of single wall and multi wall carbon nanotubes in aqueous solutions of Gum Arabic, a natural polysaccharide, is described. Using electron microscopy, we observe that while the as-prepared nanotube powders contain highly entangled ropes and bundles, the dispersions are mainly composed of individual tubes. TGA of the dried dispersions indicates that the stability of the tubes is not affected by the procedure. It is suggested that the ability of Gum Arabic to exfoliate the bundles, and stabilize individual tubes in aqueous dispersions, can be utilized in the preparation of carbon nanotube-polymer composites. Here the dispersing polymer can act as a compatabilizer and as an adhesion promoter leading to strengthening of the matrix-nanotube interface.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Dr. Eugenia Klein for her help with the SEM work. We thank the Centers of Excellence Program of the Israel Science Foundation (Grant no. 8003), R. Y-R gratefully acknowledges the support of The Joseph and May Winston Foundation Career Development Chair in Chemical Engineering.