Study on the impact of CNT or graphene reinforced interlaminar region in composites

University essay from Luleå tekniska universitet/Institutionen för teknikvetenskap och matematik

Abstract: The interlaminar region is a contributing factor to the limited electrical conductivity of carbon fiber/epoxy composites. Consisting of electrically insulating epoxy matrix between conductive layers of carbon fiber, the interlaminar region prevents electrical interaction between the carbon fiber layers and electrical conduction in the through thickness direction.The interlaminar region in thin [0,0] carbon fiber/epoxy composites has been reinforced by carbon nanotubes (CNT) by two methods. First by aligned CNT forests from N12 Technologies and secondly by self-produced Buckypapers, porous CNT films, of different areal densitites. Two batches of laminates modified by aligned CNTs, having different curing conditions, and laminates modified with Buckypapers were manufactured. The laminates were evaluated by their electrical conductivity and electromagnetic interference shielding efficiency (EMI SE). The addition of external pressure to the laminates during curing brought an increase in longitudinal conductivity, a consequence of higher fiber packing. Also, both reinforcement methods increased the longitudinal conductivity through improved electrical interaction between the carbon fiber layers. However, only the Buckypaper reinforcement augmented the transversal conductivity significantly, acting as a highly conductive route in the interlaminar region. Both batches of aligned CNT modified laminates exhibited equal EMI SE, questioning the influence of the conductivity of the laminate on its EMI SE. Also, the increase in EMI SE brought by the aligned CNT forests were negligible compared to the reference. However, the reinforcement by Buckypapers proved successful, reaching -45/-50 dB at 1000 MHz, improving from 30 dB of the unmodified reference at the same frequency.

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