Author

Suma Ayyagari

Date of Award

12-2017

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering

Department

Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Dr. Marwan Al-Haik

First Committee Member

Dr. Daewon Kim

Second Committee Member

Dr. Sirish Namilae

Abstract

The quest for multifunctional carbon fiber reinforced composites (CFRPs) expedited the use of several nano reinforcements such as zinc oxide nanorods (ZnO) and carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Zinc oxide is semi-conductor with good piezoelectric and pyroelectric properties. These properties could be transmitted to CFRPs when a nanophase of ZnO is embedded within CFRPs. In lieu of ZnO nanorods, Bucky paper comprising mat of multiwall-carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) could be sandwiched in-between laminae to construct a functionally graded composite with elevated electrical and thermal conductivities. In this study, a low temperature ( 90_C) hydrothermal synthesis method was utilized to grow ZnO nanorods on the surface of carbon fiber fabrics. Different configurations of hybrid composites based on carbon fibers, in combination with ZnO nanorods and Bucky paper were fabricated. The composites were tested mechanically via tensile and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) tests to examine the effect of the different nanoadditives on the stiffness, strength and damping performance of the hybrid composites. Surface electrical resistivities of the hybrid composites were probed to examine the contributions of the different nanoadditives. The results suggest that there are certain hybrid composite combinations that could lead to the development of highly multifunctional composites with better strength, stiffness, damping and electrical conductivity.

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