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3 April 2008 Carbon nanotube epoxy modified CFRPs: toward improved mechanical and sensing for multifunctional aerostructures
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In aerospace structures, the increase of mechanical performance of materials such as Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymers (CFRPs) is always a key goal. In parallel, there is a constant demand for multi-functional solutions that provide continuous, integrated damage monitoring in an efficient and cost affordable way. Structural Health Monitoring systems are crucial for a variety of aerospace applications where safety, operational cost and the maintenance have increased significantly. The Electrical Resistance Technique (ERT) as a promising damage monitoring technique uses the CFRP materials themselves as inherent damage sensors. Currently method's medium sensitivity does not allow the identification of early damage stages requested for a potential application. By using highly conductive carbon-nanotubes as filler material into the epoxy matrix of CFRP is expected to increase the sensitivity of the method, allowing for wider field of applications. In addition, it is expected that the introduction of CNTs into the polymer matrix of CFRP laminates will increase the overall mechanical and electrical performance of the composite. This double role of the CNTs is investigated in the present study. Quasi-static tensile, cyclic loading-unloading-reloading with increase load level at each loading cycle and tension-tension fatigue tests with parallel monitoring of the longitudinal resistance performed on CFRP laminates with various contents of CNTs in the epoxy matrix showed that matrix cracking and fiber breakage caused resistance to increase irreversibly. Although the individual damage mechanisms could not be easily distinguished the overall damage state can be reliably characterized. Moreover significant increase in the fracture resistance was shown, for both Mode I and Mode II tests in the case of CNT doped laminates, compared against the reference laminate where neat epoxy matrix was used. Finally, low velocity impact tests showed that the CNT doped laminates appear to have reduced damage area based on C-Scan evidences.
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Vassilis Kostopoulos, Antonios Vavouliotis, and Petros Karapappas "Carbon nanotube epoxy modified CFRPs: toward improved mechanical and sensing for multifunctional aerostructures", Proc. SPIE 6929, Behavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional and Composite Materials 2008, 69292M (3 April 2008);

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