Fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites featuring outstanding fatigue performance, high specific stiffness and strength, and low density have evolved as critical structural materials in aerospace applications. Microscale damage such as fiber breakage, matrix cracking, and delamination could occur in layered composites compromising structural integrity, emphasizing the critical need to monitor structural health. Early damage detection would lead to enhanced reliability, lifetime, and performance while minimizing maintenance time, leading to enormous scientific and technical interest in realizing physically stable, quick responding, and cost effective strain sensing materials, devices, and techniques with high sensitivity over a broad range of the practical strain spectrum. Today’s most commonly used strain sensing techniques are metal foil strain gauges and optical fiber sensors. Metal foil gauges offer high stability and cost-effectiveness but can only be surface-mounted and have a low gauge factor. Optical fibers require expensive instrumentation, are mostly insensitive to cracks parallel to the fiber orientation and may lead to crack initiation as the diameter is larger than that of the reinforcement fibers. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have attracted much attention due to high aspect ratio and superior electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties. CNTs embedded in layered composites have improved performance. A variety of CNT architectures and configurations have shown improved piezoresistive behavior and stability for sensing applications. However, scaling up and commercialization remain serious challenges. The current study investigates a simple, cost effective and repeatable technique for highly sensitive, stable, linear and repeatable strain sensing for damage detection by integrating CNT laminates into composites.
Latha Nataraj, Michael Coatney, Jason Cain, and Asha Hall, "Carbon nanotube-embedded advanced aerospace composites for early-stage damage sensing ," Proc. SPIE 10599, Nondestructive Characterization and Monitoring of Advanced Materials, Aerospace, Civil Infrastructure, and Transportation XII, 105990J (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 06, 2018; Published: 27 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2299350.
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