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Continuous Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Composites

Summary: Continuous Carbon Nanotube
Reinforced Composites
L. Ci,, J. Suhr,*,, V. Pushparaj,| X. Zhang, and P. M. Ajayan*,
Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Rice UniVersity,
Houston, Texas 77251, Department of Mechanical Engineering, The UniVersity of
NeVada-Reno, Reno, NeVada 89557, Department of Materials Science and
Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York 12180, and School of
Materials Science and Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong UniVersity,
Shanghai 200030, People's Republic of China
Received May 4, 2008; Revised Manuscript Received June 12, 2008
Carbon nanotubes are considered short fibers, and polymer composites with nanotube fillers are always analogues of random, short fiber
composites. The real structural carbon fiber composites, on the other hand, always contain carbon fiber reinforcements where fibers run
continuously through the composite matrix. With the recent optimization in aligned nanotube growth, samples of nanotubes in macroscopic
lengths have become available, and this allows the creation of composites that are similar to the continuous fiber composites with individual
nanotubes running continuously through the composite body. This allows the proper utilization of the extreme high modulus and strength
predicted for nanotubes in structural composites. Here, we fabricate such continuous nanotube polymer composites with continuous nanotube
reinforcements and report that under compressive loadings, the nanotube composites can generate more than an order of magnitude improvement
in the longitudinal modulus (up to 3300%) as well as damping capability (up to 2100%). It is also observed that composites with a random
distribution of nanotubes of same length and similar filler fraction provide three times less effective reinforcement in composites.


Source: Ajayan, Pulickel M. - Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Rice University


Collections: Materials Science