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RESEARCH PROPOSAL SUBMITTED TO

MATERIALS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT

ON

ENHANCEMENT OF STRUCTURAL COMPOSITES MECHANICAL PROPERTIES BY CNT WITH MINIMUN COST IMPACT

BY ABDALLA MOHAMED ABDALLA B.SC. IN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING 4 JANUARY 2012

CONTENTS

CONTENTS & GENERAL INFORMATION ............................................................................................................... 2 INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................................................ 3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES .............................................................................................................................................. 5 TIME PLAN, METHODS & PROCEDURES ............................................................................................................... 7

GENERAL INFORMATION

Abdalla Mohamed Abdalla Research/Teaching Assistant of Mechanical Engineering Mechanical Engineering Department Principal Investigator Banha Faculty of Engineering Banha University Qaluobia, Egypt Tel./Mob.: +202 3307 1066 / +2012 2353 8540 +2011 4172 9221 Proposal Title Desired Starting Date Proposed Duration Enhancement of Structural Composites Mechanical Properties by CNT with Minimun Cost Impact 01/03/2012 18-Months

INTRODUCTION
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been the focus of considerable research since their discovery by Iijima in 1991. Numerous studies have proven their impressive electronic properties, such as a capacity of carrying electric current 1000 higher than copper wires. CNTs also have outstanding thermal properties. Ruof and Lorents measured thermal stability up to 2800 C, and thermal conductivity about twice as high as diamond. These properties have been investigated for electronic devices. In addition, to the exceptional electronic and thermal properties associated with carbon nanotubes, they also posses exceptional mechanical properties; Theoretical and experimental results point to an elastic modulus higher than 1 TPa, compared to 0.2 TPa for steel and 0.07 TPa for aluminium, and strengths 10 to 100 times higher than the strongest steel at a fraction of the weight. Due to their remarkable mechanical properties many researchers have focused on using carbon nanotubes as reinforcement for different materials. Reinforcement of different matrices through the use of carbon nanotubes has been a major focus of research around the world. The problems associated with large filler particles (mainly stress concentrations) are considerably reduced due to the size of the nanotubes. Moreover, no other filler provides such a high strength and stiffness combined with a low density. Analytical models and extensive work on reinforcement of polymer, ceramic, and metal matrices have been developed in the last few years. Carbon nanotubes have also been studied as reinforcement for traditional composite materials. The outstanding mechanical properties of composite materials have allowed them to increase their presence in the aeronautical industry in the last 20 years. Composite materials have mechanical properties comparable to those of the best metal alloys but with about a third of the weight. The exceptional in-plane mechanical properties, multilayered composite materials are effectively used in structural parts traditionally reserved for metal alloys. However, the relatively poor mechanical properties of the matrix and the fiber/matrix interfacial bond limit their use in particularly demanding applications. Composite materials fail through numerous modes at various lenghtscales. Carbon nanotubes increase the capacity of load transfer between matrix and fiber: On the one hand, they reinforce the matrix, increasing its load-carrying capability; on the other hand, they increase the effective interface area, favouring the load transfer. Composite laminates contain matrix-rich regions that reduce their overall performance. In composite laminates, the thin, unreinforced pure matrix layer that exists between plies has poor mechanical properties (stiffness, strength, fracture toughness) when compared to in-plane properties of the laminate. Delamination and matrix cracking between plies are the dominant modes of damage and therefore responsible for the reduction of properties in the direction normal to the plane. In recent years several different solutions have tried to overcome this limitation: 3D-braiding, weaving and stitching (e.g., z-pinning) are the most promising solutions to date. All these processes increase to some extent the through-thickness mechanical properties of layered composite materials, but also reduce the laminates performance in the in-plane directions of the laminate. A possible method to increase a composites resistance to delamination without compromising the in-plane properties is the use of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in the
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interface between layers that would not only improve the mechanical properties of the inter-ply region, but also can help reduce the crack propagation by bridging the two plies across the crack. The focus of this research is on exploiting CNTs outstanding nanoscale properties toward the development of macroscopic structural materials. This work focuses on polymer-matrix composites because of the extensive number of present applications. As mentioned previously, carbon nanotubes have superior mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties, which make them a perfect candidate for multifunctional composite materials. Though the study of multifunctional composites using carbon nanotubes is extremely interesting, there are too many unknowns in their design that must be solved before being able to take full advantage of the outstanding combination of properties that carbon nanotubes offer. Importantly for this research, the mechanical properties of CNT/polymer and CNT/polymer/fiber composites have not been completely determined yet. Taking all these considerations into account, the focus of this research is the mechanical characterization of polymer based composites using carbon nanotubes and their possible use in structural applications. Also, by now it has been amply demonstrated that carbon nanotubes (CNTs) can produce polymer (epoxy, vinyl ester and others) nano-composite materials with mechanical properties (inplane and out-of-plane) that are significantly better than those of the best aerospace grade carbon fiber reinforced material, albeit at relative small sizes due to the large CNT cost when used at high concentrations. On the other extreme, very small concentrations of CNTs, acting as a secondary reinforcement phase and placed at the appropriate location, have been shown to significantly enhance some of the mechanical properties of structural composites with a minimum cost impact.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES


Aim
To put the first foundation stone for making the amazing aircraft structure material that is characterized by high strength, low weight, multifunctional and smart (Electrical & Thermal) material. So, the first stone towards this main aim will be to develop new carbon nanotube structural products that are amenable for seamless integration with existing structural composites manufacturing methods and that will provide significant increases in thickness strength of laminated composite structures. The ultimate goal is to enhance the performance and endurance of structural composites by introducing small amounts of CNTs in to critical areas, with relative ease and minimal cost impact.

Objectives
The research seeks to: 1. Present a thorough review of previous analytical and experimental results in the processing and mechanical characterization of pure CNTs and composite materials based on CNTs; hybrid composites (CNT/polymer matrix/advanced fiber composite materials). Present a thorough review of previous results obtained from the fabrication and mechanical characterization of composites using different ply orientations. Present a thorough review of previous results obtained for the fabrication and mechanical characterization of nanocomposites using different architectures for hybrid composites containing carbon nanotubes, advanced fibers, and polymer matrices. Build a prototype of the best properties from all reviewed above and present results for the alignment of CNTs inside the structural composite. Manufacture and process CNTs since it is well know that the best performance of these materials is achieved when the quality of the CNT is appropriately controlled (such as number of CNT walls, the number of defects on the surface of the CNT, the length of the CNTs, functionalization of the CNTs, resin compatibility, dispersion of the CNTs and other properties). Develop new cost effective CNT forms (for example pre-preg tapes, pre-preg mats, sprays, or other advanced concepts) that can be applied to well defined hot spots and are amenable with existing PMC manufacturing processes. The intent is not to apply these new forms throughout the entire composite structure, but only in localized areas that could benefit from additional out of plane reinforcement such as around fastener holes (improving properties at the fastener holes to achieve performance levels consistent with composite structure), ply drop-offs and other mentioned previously. Develop a new carbon nanotubes (CNT) form. Demonstrate how it is applied during a manufacturing trial and characterize its structural performance under an open hole compression test (OHC). Optimize the CNT form (CNTs length, form thickness, length and width, processing parameters and other form parameters) in terms of OHC strength and/or interlaminar shear strength.
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Expand on that CNT form to include other sizes and configurations. Investigate scale-up options and start developing manufacturing and commercialization plans taking into account the cost containment. 10. Extract conclusions and recommendations for future work.