Electromagnetic Energy Coupled to Nanomaterial Composites for Polymer Manufacturing
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Polymer nano-composites may be engineered with specific electrical properties to achieve good coupling with electromagnetic energy sources. This enables a wide range of novel processing techniques where controlling the precise thermal profile is critical. Composite materials were characterized with a variety of electrical and thermographic analysis methods to capture their response to electromagnetic energy. COMSOL finite element analysis software was used to model the electric fields and resultant thermal profiles in selected samples. Applications of this technology are demonstrated, including the use of microwave and radio frequency energy to thermally weld the interfaces of 3D printed parts together for increased interlayer (Z) strength. We also demonstrate the ability to bond various substrates with carbon nanotube/epoxy composite adhesives using radio frequency electromagnetic heating to rapidly cure the adhesive interface. The results of this work include 3D printed parts with mechanical properties equal to injection molded samples, and RF bonded joints cured 40% faster than traditional oven curing.
Sweeney, Charles Brandon (2018). Electromagnetic Energy Coupled to Nanomaterial Composites for Polymer Manufacturing. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from