Warsaw University of Technology, Poland
Title: Improvement of CFRP electrical conductivity by applying nano enabled products containing carbon nanotubes
Biography: Anna Boczkowska
Due to their low weight and high mechanical performance, carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) is used in the aerospace, automotive and defense industries. In comparison to metal parts, they can reduce total mass but cannot reduce electrostatic discharge or protect against lightning strikes. Therefore, a new challenge is to find a way to improve the electrical conductivity of CFRP, especially throughout its thickness. The most promising idea is to use carbon nano tubes (CNTs), which show not only high electrical conductivity but also good thermal conductivity and mechanical strength, while maintaining low density. There are different approaches to introducing CNTs into CFRP in manufacturing. One such approach is mixing the resin with CNT powder before performing the infusion. However, the significant increase of resin viscosity in the presence of CNTs makes the infusion process difficult. Another way is to bond CNTs covalently onto carbon fabrics. A more convenient way is to apply nano-enabled products such as thermoplastic non-woven fabrics containing CNTs (CNT-doped veils). The first manufacturing method involves the production of fibers and their thermal bonding; the second way is direct melt blowing of thermoplastic polymers doped with CNTs. Implementation of both types of non-woven fabrics in CFRP as inter layers by pre-preg and resin infusion results in good impregnation. When compared to the reference CFRP, the addition of CNTs increases the electrical volume conductivity throughout the panel thickness by as much as 350%. The obtained results are very promising for the further application of CFRP with CNTs as novel, lightweight and conductive structures for the replacement of metallic parts in many industrial sectors.