Electrically conductive paints and other polymer alloys are now easy to produce

Researchers from the University of Tsukuba and collaborating partners prepared polyaniline in a wide variety of inexpensive solvents. This development will enable advanced applications in printed circuit boards and other technologies. Credit: University of Tsukuba

Medical devices, automobiles and many advanced technologies contain numerous delicate components held together by electrically conductive polymers, such as polyaniline. For decades, the synthesis of polyaniline for industrial electronics applications has faced a major limitation: which solvent best facilitates the synthesis? This abstract question is important for minimizing the cost and complexity of polyaniline production and facilitating useful properties such as shaping. The ability to use a range of low-cost, low-boiling point solvents would be of great help in versatile polymer processing modes such as inkjet printing, but had remained elusive until now.

In a recently published study in Polymer plastic technology and materials, researchers from the University of Tsukuba and collaborating partners have synthesized polyaniline in several common solvents. This improved ability to synthesize and process polyaniline will greatly simplify production and reduce manufacturing costs.

“Polyaniline is an extremely versatile polymer in routine and advanced technologies, but limitations on the use of solvents for synthesis have long hindered this versatility,” explains senior author Professor Hiromasa Goto. “Our discovery of how to facilitate polymerization in different solvents will be useful in basic research and industrial applications.”

The researchers made polyaniline from aniline sulfate in one step by adding a small amount of iodine to the reaction mixture. Many solvents were compatible with this procedure, including non-toxic ethanol and dichloromethane. Extensive instrumental characterizations showed that the polyaniline produced by this method improves crystallinity and electrical properties as if it had been prepared by conventional methods.

“A particularly exciting result is the ease with which industrially useful polymer alloys can be prepared, such as mixtures with polystyrene or cellulose derivatives,” says Professor Goto. “Electrically conductive paint, advanced rubber compounds and other materials are now easy to prepare, which is expected to facilitate product development in various areas.”

What about the added iodine that facilitates the production of polyaniline? The researchers propose that iodine is an electron acceptor dopant that facilitates the production of localized polarons, which is crucial for the subsequent polymerization through radical chain reactions.

The results of this study will help make polyaniline more compatible with: inkjet printing and other useful processing technologies, and thus the production of printed printed circuit boards and other common components of modern electronics. By focusing on the rather abstract topic of solvent compatibility, many routine and advanced technologies will be easier to make at a lower cost.

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More information:
Hiromasa Goto et al, Synthesis of polyaniline in organic solvents, Polymer plastic technology and materials (2022). DOI: 10.1080/25740881.2022.2075270www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10 … 0?journalCode=lpte21

Quote: Electrically Conductive Paints and Other Polymer Alloys Now Easily Produced (2022, June 17) Retrieved June 17, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-electrically-polymer-alloys-easily.html

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