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Electrical Self-Sensing of Impact Damage in Multi-Scale Hierarchical Composites by Controlling the Location of the Carbon Nanotubes

BRIAN ISAAC-MEDINA, ALEJANDRO ALONZO-GARCIA, JOSE KU-HERRERA, ALEJANDRO MAY-PAT, JAVIER CAUICH-CUPUL and FRANC

Abstract


The electrical sensitivity of a multiscale glass fiber reinforced polymer composite containing a hierarchically structured carbon nanotube (CNT) network, to self-sense damage under low velocity impact loading is investigated. The multiscale composites were manufactured into two hierarchical architectures depending on the location of the CNTs: a) with CNTs randomly dispersed within the matrix, and b) with CNTs located in the matrix and on the fibers. A squared grid of electrodes were instrumented on the panels in order to map the changes of their electrical resistance before and after impact. A finite element model was implemented in order to correlate the spatial distribution of stress components with the changes in electrical resistance of the panels upon impact loading. The effect of the CNT location into the composite on the energy absorption was also investigated. Using an electrical resistance mapping approach, both composite architectures were capable to detect impact damage. It was shown that the composite with CNTs dispersed only into the matrix is more sensitive to matrixdominated damage, while the composite with CNTs in the matrix and on the fibers more adequately capture damage associated to delamination. Composites with CNTs in the matrix and fibers absorbed less impact energy than the composites without CNTs and with CNTs dispersed only in the matrix.

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