Improvement of Out of Plane Properties of Fabric-Reinforced Composite by Genetic Engineered Protein in Complex with Carbon Nanotubes

W. Amnon, E. Asa, F. Tamir, E. Lea, I. Shalev, S. Oded
Fulcrum SP Materials Ltd., IL

Keywords: carbon nano tubes, reinforcement, inter-laminar, SP1, SP1/CNT

Summary:

Fabric-reinforced composite materials display excellent in-plane properties but perform poorly when out-of-plane through-thickness properties are considered. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) incorporation in composite, either by dispersion in the matrix or bound to two-dimensional (2D) fabric could alleviate this weakness. However, all of the efforts so far have only produced limited success or high cost solutions. Effective reinforcement of composites using CNTs is difficult, due to poor dispersion and interfacial stress transfer. This paper describes an innovative and cost effective technology to improve these inferior mechanical properties by using an exceptionally stable protein - SP1 protein – to form the SP1/CNT complex. The SP1/CNT complex can be dispersed in epoxy resin or to coat structural fabric that forms a 3D nano-reinforced structure. The technology is suitable for carbon glass as well as aramid fabrics (CF, GF & Aramid, respectively), which can coated with the SP1/CNT complex using standard textile dyeing machine. This work confirms remarkable improvements in inter-laminar shear strength, through-thickness tensile strength as well as inter-laminar fracture toughness in SP1/CNT- reinforced CF, GF & Aramid composites.