Novel methods for delivery of Carbon Nanotubes into composites

S. Gadthula and S.K. Potluri
Zyvex Technologies, US

Keywords: CNT, Carbon Fiber Composites, Epoxy, Fracture toughness, VARTM, Flexural properties


Superior dispersions of CNTs into resins have resulted in fiber reinforced composite applications with promising mechanical and electrical properties. However, the current methods for introducing CNTs into resins involve elaborate mixing procedures. In addition, the resins filled with CNTs are not amenable with common composites manufacturing processes such as VARTM, pultrusion and filament winding. For example in a VARTM process when the CNT loaded reisn is pushed through the fiber reinforcement the nano particulates are filtered out because of the tight spaces in the reinforcement. To over come the traditional processing difficulties and with a goal of efficiently delivering CNTs into composites a new CNT-epoxy derivative referred to as ZySER (Zyvex Solid Epoxy Resin) was developed. Through mechanical agitation and heat, ZySER was let down into VARTM and prepreg epoxy resins. Plane weave carbon fiber laminates prepared using the VARTM showed 15% improvement in flexural properties. Like wise the laminates prepared from prepregs by hand lay up and autoclave also showed 20% improvement in both flexural and toughness properties. The mechanical property improvements and SEM analysis suggest that ZySER functions as a novel method for delivery of CNTs.