Ultra-high-molecular-weight-polyethylene (UHMWPE) has the greatest impact strength of any thermoplastic and has a variety of both industrial and biomedical applications. Equal channel angular processing (ECAP) is a fabrication method for UHMWPE that introduces shear into the polymer matrix by deforming the polymer through an angular channel, with the goal of enhancing mechanical properties. Both nanographite (NG) and carbon black (CB) attract interest as potential carbon additives for use in creating UHMWPE conductive polymer composites (CPC), but they have not yet been extensively tested in conjunction with ECAP. This study presents a systematic evaluation of the mechanical and electrical properties of 1.0 wt % CB/UHMWPE and NG/UHMWPE composites created using ECAP. These samples are compared against pure UHMWPE ECAP controls as well as compression molded (CM) composite samples. Results indicate that both NG and CB carbon additives successfully create CPCs with a corresponding decrease in mechanical properties. ECAP results in comparatively high mechanical and conductive properties when compared with compression molding. Electrical conductivity is shown to be inversely correlated with tensile strain in a repeatable manner, and microstructural theory is discussed. This work suggests a method to produce flexible, conductive UHMWPE composites that vary consistently and predictably with applied strain, which could have a variety of biomedical and industrial applications.

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