Processing and Characterization of Carbon Nanotubes Reinforced Epoxy Resin Based Multi-scale Multi-functional Composites
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This research is focused on investigating the effect of carbon nanotubes on macroscale composite laminate properties, such as, interlaminar shear strength, interlaminar fracture toughness and electrical conductivity along with studying the micro and nano-scale interactions of carbon nanotubes with epoxy matrix via thermomechanical and electrical characterization of nanocomposites. First an introduction to the typical advanced composite laminates and multifunctional nanocomposites is provided followed by a literature review and a summary of recent status on the processing and the characterization work on nanocomposites and composite laminates. Experimental approach is presented for the development of processing techniques and appropriate characterization methods for carbon nanotubes reinforced epoxy resin based multi-functional nanocomposites and carbon fiber reinforced polymer composite laminates modified with carbon nanotubes. The proposed work section is divided into three sub-sections to describe the processing and the characterization of carbon nanotube reinforced epoxy matrix nanocomposites, woven-carbon fabric epoxy matrix composite laminates modified with selective placement of nanotubes and unidirectional carbon fiber epoxy matrix composite laminates modified with carbon nanotubes. Efforts are focused on comparing the effects of functionalized and unfunctionalized carbon nanotubes on the advanced composite laminates. Covalently functionalized carbon nanotubes are used for improved dispersion and fiber-matrix bonding characteristics and compared with unfunctionalized or pristine carbon nanotubes. The processing of woven carbon fabric reinforced epoxy matrix composite laminates is performed using a vacuum assisted resin transfer molding process with selective placement of carbon nanotubes using a spraying method. The uni-directional carbon fiber epoxy matrix pre-preg composites are processed using a hot press technique along with the spraying method for placement of nanotubes. These macroscale laminates are tested using short beam shear and double cantilever beam experiments for investigating the effect of nanotubes on the interlaminar shear stress and the interlaminar fracture toughness. Fractography is performed using optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy to investigate the structure-property relationship. The micro and nano-scale interactions of carbon nanotubes and epoxy matrix are studied through the processing of unfunctionalized and functionalized single wall carbon nanotube reinforced epoxy matrix nanocomposites. The multifunctional nature of such nanocomposites is investigated through thermo-mechanical and electrical characterizations.
Thakre, Piyush R. (2009). Processing and Characterization of Carbon Nanotubes Reinforced Epoxy Resin Based Multi-scale Multi-functional Composites. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from