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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Aerospace nanotube hybrid composite structures with sensing and actuating capabilities


The increased use of high performance composites as structural materials in aerospace components is continuously raising the demands in terms of dynamic performance, structural integrity, reliable life monitoring systems and adaptive actuating abilities. This project will exploit the unique properties of Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) as a matrix dopant in Fibre Reinforced Plastics (FRP), with the aim of producing structural composites with improved mechanical performance as well as sensing / actuating capabilities.The development of new generation composites using CNTs as filler material within the matrix is expected to result in the enhancement of the damping properties of the material, the increased fracture toughness and the improvement of its fatigue life. This is expected to occur due to the multiplicity of energy dispersive mechanisms within the material. At the same time, the percolated CNT network within the composite is expected (i) to be strain sensitive and (ii) closely related to internal damage mechanisms within the material, providing thus the sensing and life-assessment tool throughout the service life of the material. At the same time, the electromechanical response of CNTs provides the field for the design of actuating systems comprised of CNT structures of varying degree of anisotropy that will be incorporated in the composite. Additionally, the dependence of the Raman shift on the local stress of CNTs can provide unique insight on the stress field at nanoscale level.The challenge that this project is facing is to successfully combine the CNT properties and existing sensing actuating technologies realising a multi-functional FRP structure; this will be achieved through a detailed property assessment with concurrent modelling from nano- to macro- to multi scale level and validation. The expected outcome is the successful integration of emerging nanotechnologies in structural aerospace components with enhanced mechanical properties.


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