Authors: S.S. Wicks, N. Yamamoto, R. Guzman de Villoria, K. Ishiguro, H. Cebeci, B.L. Wardle
Affilation: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
Pages: 194 - 197
Keywords: composite, nanocomposite, nanotube
Composites, consisting of aligned advanced fibers embedded in epoxy, are common structural materials used in the aerospace industry for their superior strength to weight ratio and their versatility in tailoring specific mechanical properties, among other benefits. However, current composites still need improvement in terms of interlaminar strength and electrical and thermal conductivities. In this research, aligned carbon nanotubes (CNT) are implemented into such traditional composites to enhance their properties. Three processing routes for introducing aligned CNTs into existing advanced composites are discussed: interlaminar reinforcement of prepreg graphite/epoxy, interlaminar reinforcement of graphite/epoxy cloth in a resin-infusion process, and hand layup of woven ceramic cloth with in situ-grown CNTs. Both approaches incorporate aligned CNTs into traditional composites using conventional materials and techniques. The alignment of the CNTs facilitates rapid wetting of CNT forests, minimizing void fraction and achieving uniform distribution. The hybrid composites created demonstrate the ability to nanoengineer existing advanced composites with aligned CNTs.