2008 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show - Nanotech 2008 - 11th Annual

Partnering Events:

TechConnect Summit
Clean Technology 2008

Balancing Material Properties in Multifunctional Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Polymer Composites

A.H. Brothers
Mainstream Engineering Corporation, US

carbon nanotubes, composites, conductivity, mechanical properties

Literature on the mechanical properties of epoxy-carbon nanotube composites shows that nanotube functionalization is effective in improving composite strength. More surprisingly, it also shows that multi-walled nanotubes (MWNT) are more effective than single-walled nanotubes (SWNT), despite lower intrinsic strength. While almost certainly processing-related, this fact indicates that functionalized MWNT are currently the most effective nanotube reinforcement. Functionalization, however, also affects electrical conductivity, in some cases raising and in others lowering it. Some argue that functionalization disrupts electrical percolation between nanotubes, damages them, and ties up their delocalized electrons, and will never be optimal for electrical conductivity. In this case, different nanotubes and/or functionalities are needed. Thermal conductivity results are again mixed, with most improvements being modest in absolute terms. Some argue that this is again inevitable, due to phonon scattering at the numerous interfaces created by nanotube reinforcement; accordingly, we must think again about what type of nanotubes (if any) should be used. This poster will present these issues, and review our experimental efforts to secure performance from among these divergent needs, using combinations of different nanotubes and various other fillers. Results will be discussed in the context of available carbon fiber reinforced plastic materials used for spacebound electronics housings.

Nanotech 2008 Conference Program Abstract