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Nanoengineered Glass Fiber Reinforced Composite Laminates with Integrated Multifunctionality



Combining one or more functional capabilities of subsystems within a structure can provide system-level savings, particularly for weight-critical applications such as air and space vehicles. Nanoengineering presents a significant opportunity for additional functionalities on the nanoscale without the necessity to modify shape, design, or load carrying capacity of the structure. Here, an integrated-multifunctional nano-engineered system was preliminarily studied in composite laminate structures. The study would support the exploration of a system designed to serve independent yet synergistic functionalities in life-cycle enhancements, energy savings during manufacturing, in-situ cure (manufacturing) monitoring, and in-service damage sensing. For the preliminary study, an integrated multifunctional composite (IMC) laminate was created via aligned nanofiber introduction into the composite interlaminar region and the laminate surfaces of Hexcel E-glass/913 unidirectional glass fiber prepreg. Various heights ranging from 10 - 40 μm-tall vertically aligned carbon nanotube (VA-CNT) arrays, as well as patterned and buckled VA-CNT architectures, were used to reinforce the weak interlaminar regions within the laminates showing a ~ 4 - 5% increase in short beam strength of VA-CNT reinforced specimens hence demonstrating interlaminar enhancement for life-cycle advancements. The same layers, being electrically conductive, can provide several additional multifunctionalities.


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