The effect of different carbon nanotube (CNT) types on the thermoelectric performance of CNT/polymer nanocomposites was studied. Three different kinds of CNTs, single- (SWCNTs), few- (FWCNTs) and multi-walled CNTs (MWCNTs), were effectively dispersed in an aqueous solution of Nafion. The electrical properties of the CNT/Nafion nanocomposites were primarily affected by the CNTs since the Nafion acts as an electrically non-conducting matrix, while the thermal conductivity of the nanocomposites was dominated by the Nafion mainly due to weak van der Waals interaction. In this way, electrical and thermal transport can be separated. In all three types of CNTs, both the electrical conductivity and Seebeck coefficient increased as the concentration of CNTs was increased. While the electrical conductivity depends on the type of CNT, the behavior of the Seebeck coefficient was relatively insensitive of the CNT type at high CNT loading. This indicates that high-energy-charges can participate in transport processes irrespective of the type of CNT. It is suggested that FWCNTs and MWCNTs are preferred over SWCNTs in CNT/Nafion nanocomposites for thermoelectric applications.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
WK acknowledges financial support from the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (grant numbers 2010-0000610 and 2010-0021487). SYJ thanks financial support by the research program 2011 of Kookmin University in Korea.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Materials Chemistry