Polymethylmethacrylate–silica hybrids have been prepared using the sol–gel route by the radical polymerization of methyl methacrylate(MMA) using benzoyl peroxide (BPO) as a thermal initiator and 3-(trimethoxysilyl)propyl methacrylate(MPTS) as a coupling agent, followed by acid-catalyzed hydrolytic condensation of tetraethoxysilane (TEOS). Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were first dispersed either by surfactant addition or by functionalization with carboxyl groups and then added at a carbon (CNT) to silicon (TEOS and MPTS) molar ratio (CCNT/SiHybrid) of 0.05% to two different hybrid matrices prepared at BPO/MMA molar ratios of 0.01 and 0.05. Films of 2–7 μm thickness deposited onto carbon steel by dip-coating were characterized in terms of their microstructure and their mechanical, thermal and anticorrosive behavior. Atomic force microscopy and optical microscopy confirmed that there was a homogeneous dispersion of CNTs in the nanocomposites and that the surfaces of the films were very smooth. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) confirmed the nominal composition of the films while nuclear magnetic resonance showed that the connectivity of the silica network was unaffected by CNT loading. Thermogravimetric analysis and mechanical measurements confirmed an increase of thermal stability, hardness, adhesion and scratch resistance of CNT-loaded coatings relative to those without CNTs. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy measurements in 3.5% NaCl solution interpreted in terms of equivalent circuits showed that the reinforced hybrid coatings, prepared at the higher BPO/MMA molar ratio used in this work, act as a very efficient anticorrosive barrier, with an impedance modulus up to 109 Ω cm2.
Part of the book: Carbon Nanotubes