27 March 2018 Piezoresistive strain sensing of carbon nanotubes-based composite skin for aeronautical morphing structures
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Abstract
Nowadays, smart composites based on different nano-scale carbon fillers, such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs), are increasingly being thought of as a more possible alternative solution to conventional smart materials, mainly for their improved electrical properties. Great attention is being given by the research community in designing highly sensitive strain sensors for more and more ambitious challenges: in such context, interest fields related to carbon nanotubes have seen extraordinary development in recent years. The authors aim to provide the most contemporary overview possible of carbon nanotube-based strain sensors for aeronautical application. A smart structure as a morphing wing needs an embedded sensing system in order to measure the actual deformation state as well as to “monitor” the structural conditions. Looking at more innovative health monitoring tools for the next generation of composite structures, a resin strain sensor has been realized. The epoxy resin was first analysed by means of a micro-tension test, estimating the electrical resistance variations as function of the load, in order to demonstrate the feasibility of the sensor. The epoxy dogbone specimen has been equipped with a standard strain gauge to quantify its strain sensitivity. The voltamperometric tests highlight a good linearity of the electrical resistance value as the load increases at least in the region of elastic deformation of the material. Such intrinsic piezoresistive performance is essentially attributable to the re-arrangement of conductive percolating network formed by MWCNT, induced by the deformation of the material due to the applied loads. The specimen has been prepared within this investigation, to demonstrate its performance for a future composite laminate typical of aerospace structures. The future carbon-fiber sensor can replace conventional metal foil strain gauges in aerospace applications. Furthermore, dynamic tests will be carried out to detect any non-reversible changes to the sensing response.
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Massimo Viscardi, Maurizio Arena, Giuseppina Barra, Luigi Vertuccio, Monica Ciminello, Liberata Guadagno, "Piezoresistive strain sensing of carbon nanotubes-based composite skin for aeronautical morphing structures ", Proc. SPIE 10599, Nondestructive Characterization and Monitoring of Advanced Materials, Aerospace, Civil Infrastructure, and Transportation XII, 105991C (27 March 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2295938; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2295938
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