C. S. Torres-Castillo, C. Bruel, J. R. Tavares
Department of Chemical Engineering, Polytechnique
Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) are counterparts to carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in which carbon atoms are replaced by alternating B and N atoms in a honeycomb network. Compared to CNTs, BNNTs display a competitive Young’s modulus and thermal conductivity. However, what makes them different to CNTs is their higher thermal stability (up to 1100 ˚C in air) and their electrically insulating behavior. BNNTs find potential applications as a reinforcing agent in polymeric and ceramic materials and, due to their high surface area, are good candidates for hydrogen devices. In addition, BNNTs can be used for heat dissipation in electronics. However, despite these attractive properties, quantitative, reliable guidelines for their dispersion in solvents and polymeric matrices are missing. Proper dispersion is key to transfer desirable properties to the matrix. In this work, we apply the Hansen solubility theory to characterize the surface properties of purified BNNTs through sedimentation tests in different solvents.