Enhanced dielectric properties of polyethylene/hexagonal boron nitride nanocomposites

Raed Ayoob, Fuad Alhabill, Thomas Andritsch, Alun Vaughan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


A range of nanocomposites based on a polyethylene polymer and hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) filler have been explored in this study. The dielectric properties of the nanocomposites, which consisted of 2, 5, 10, 20 and 30 wt% of hBN, have been compared to the dielectric properties of the unfilled polyethylene blend. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that the hBN was uniformly distributed in the polyethylene matrix, although large amounts of agglomerates were present in the nanocomposites containing more than 10 wt% of hBN. The incorporation of hBN into polyethylene resulted in a highly disordered morphology in comparison with the unfilled polyethylene, in which this effect was more pronounced with increasing hBN content. This is consistent with the increasing crystallisation temperature as the hBN content increases, as shown by differential scanning calorimetry, where the hBN acted as a highly effective nucleating due to the strong interactions between the polyethylene and the hBN. This strong interaction is again reflected in the thermal decomposition temperature which similarly increases with increasing hBN content. The study demonstrates the remarkable electrical properties of the prepared nanocomposites, where the breakdown strength monotonically increased as a function of hBN content, even with a very high 30 wt% of hBN. The improvement in electrical properties, even at high hBN concentrations, is contradictory to the reported results in the literature and is mainly attributed to the hydrophobic surface of the hBN particles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3427-3442
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Materials Science
Issue number5
Early online date14 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


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