Graphene is the newest member of the carbon family, and has revolutionized materials science especially in the field of polymer nanocomposites. However, agglomeration and uniform dispersion remains an Achilles' heel (even an elephant in the room), hampering the optimization of this material for practical applications. Chemical functionalization of graphene can overcome these hurdles but is often rather disruptive to the extended pi-conjugation, altering the desired physical and electronic properties. Employing surfactants as stabilizing agents in latex technology circumvents the need for chemical modification allowing for the formation of nanocomposites with retained graphene properties. This article reviews the recent progress in the use of surfactants and polymers to prepare graphene/polymer nanocomposites via latex technology. Of special interest here are surfactant structure-performance relationships, as well as background on the roles surfactant-graphene interactions for promoting stabilization.
- Latex technology