Application of carbon nanotubes from waste plastics as filler to epoxy resin composite

Yuanyuan Wang, Ning Cai, Haiping Yang*, Chunfei Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are promising nanofillers to enhance the mechanical performance of polymers. Through catalytic conversion, waste plastics can be converted into CNTs, which could be an alternative to commercial CNTs (cCNTs). Exploring a practical application of waste-plastic-derived CNTs will largely promote the technology development related to waste plastic management and CNT production. In this work, CNTs produced from plastics, named pCNTs, were applied as fillers to epoxy resin (EP), while commercial CNTs (cCNTs) were used as a reference. The carboxyl groups were effectively inserted on the CNT skeleton by a facile purification and modification. After ultrasonic dispersion, the modified pCNTs (M-pCNTs) were uniformly dispersed and loaded in the EP matrix. Better mechanical properties than EP were attained with a Young’s modulus of 3776.9 MPa, a tensile strength of 37.3 MPa, a fracture strain of 6.32%, and a fracture strength of 111.7 MPa with 2 wt % M-pCNT loading. Thus, pCNTs enhanced the toughness of the EP composites and simultaneously retained the stiffness. It was suggested that CNT pull-out and bridging were predominant toughening mechanisms for pCNT/EP composites. Notably, the coated film developed between residual metal in M-pCNTs and EP built a strong interfacial interaction and reinforced the EP composites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2204-2213
Number of pages10
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number6
Early online date01 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2022


  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Epoxy resin
  • Mechanical properties
  • Polymer composites
  • Waste plastic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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