The fabrication and characterization of ultrathin composite films of surfactant-wrapped graphene nanoflakes and poly(vinyl chloride) is described. Free-standing composite thin films were prepared by a simple solution blending, drop casting and annealing route. A significant enhancement in the mechanical properties of pure poly(vinyl chloride) films was obtained with a 2 wt.% loading of graphene, such as a 58% increase in Young's modulus and an almost 130% improvement of tensile strength. Thermal analysis of the composite films showed an increase in the glass transition temperature of the polymer, which confirms their enhanced thermal stability. The composite films had very low percolation threshold of 0.6 vol.% and showed a maximum electrical conductivity of 0.058 S/cm at 6.47 vol.% of the graphene loading. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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