MULTI-SCALE NANOSTRUCTURED HYBRID COMPOSITES: FROM IN SITU SENSING TO HEALTH MONITORING
Over the past 20 years nanostructured carbon, including carbon nanotubes and graphene, has generated broad scientific and technical interest in exploiting these nanostructures in engineered materials. For carbon nanotubes, their high stiffness and extraordinary strength, the ability to sustain large elastic strain, as well as their high aspect ratio and low density have enabled many potential applications, such as reinforcements for structural and functional composites, and components in nanoelectromechanical systems. Because carbon nanotubes have diameters three orders of magnitude smaller than traditional advanced fibers there is unique opportunity to create multi-scale hybrid composite systems where reinforcement scales are combined. This presentation highlights recent research in processing, characterization and modeling of electrically conductive carbon nanotube-based composite materials with an aim at developing novel functional materials. Our recent research has developed a highly efficient and industrially scalable electrophoretic deposition technique for nanoscale hybridization. We have demonstrated that conducting carbon nanotube networks formed in a polymer matrix can be utilized as highly sensitive sensors for detecting the onset, nature and evolution of damage in advanced fiber composites and adhesively bonded joints. Our recent research advances in the use of these sensors for structural health monitoring will be discussed, and the application of these sensors for use in smart garments for monitoring human health will be highlighted.
Erik Thostenson is currently Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Delaware and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Professor Thostenson’s research focuses on processing and characterization of composite materials focusing on carbon nanotube and advanced fiber reinforcements toward the development of novel multifunctional composites and micro/nano mechanics modeling techniques. Thostenson leads a major Air Force Research Laboratory program on low-cost, high performance composites for attritable structures. Thostenson received a National Science Foundation Early Career Development Award (CAREER) in addition to aYoung Investigator Program (YIP) Award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. He also was the recipient of the Elsevier Young Composites Researcher Award from the American Society for Composites recognizing researchers who early in their career have made a significant impact on the science and technology of composite materials through a sustained research effort.