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Diamond Like Composites- Experimental Development of an Allotropic Carbon Nanocomposite

S. Gardner
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, US

Keywords: nanocomposite, carbon nanotube, diamond-like-carbon


Since the discovery of carbon nanotubes (CNT) methods have been explored for incorporating them into composite materials for multifunctional structure. CNT are the strongest, high aspect ratio material known. One challenge of using CNT in reinforced composites is selection of matrix material. Polymeric matrices are typically used in composites, however the modulus and load carrying potential of polymers is limited and bonding to CNT surfaces is a challenge. A very high modulus matrix, such as Diamond-Like-Carbon, can transfer load among individual nanotubes to maximize the effective load. A method has been developed for thick composites to be fabricated by solvent impregnation of CNT with a novel synthetic Diamond-Like-Carbon (s-DLC). Thermal treatment converts the composite to a carbon allotropic composite of s-DLC/CNT. Hallmark features of this process are the low-temperature, atmospheric, and liquid-phase application of DLC material which allow for fabricating large structures. The properties of the matrix are tailored by the position on the DLC ternary phase diagram. Specifying the s-DLC precursor stoichiometry provides this control. Reinforcing the s-DLC with CNT overcomes the internal stresses that typically limit DLC thickness. The result is thick composites with diamond-like properties: low density, good thermal conductivity, chemically inert, low moisture absorbance, high modulus, high hardness & good wear resistance.
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