NSTI Nanotech 2009

Well-dispersed carbon nanotubes in structural composites for high-conductivity, remote strain-sensing, and damage monitoring

T.J. McDonald, J. Kitaygorsky
Electro Magnetic Applications, US

Keywords: nanotubes, carbon fiber composites, multifunctional composites, photoluminescence, nanoscience


There has been much interest in incorporating nanotubes into fiber-reinforced composites due to their exceptional strength and aspect ratio. The most pressing obstacle in using nanotubes to improve existing composites is proper dispersion of the nanotubes in low dielectric matrices. We have developed a method to fully disperse nanotubes in matrices that removes the need for damaging high-powered sonication. In addition, we note that the strain experienced by the nanotubes in the matrix can be monitored remotely by virtue of the nanotube band-gap shift with applied strain. The conductivity of the resulting matrix will benefit EMI and EMC requirements of vehicles and aircraft. Finally, we propose a method to find the location and severity of micro-cracks in conductive reinforced composites by monitoring the current flow pattern.
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