MULTIFUNCTIONAL COMPOSITE AEROSTRUCTURES UTILISING CARBON NANOTUBE WEBS
Start date: Mar 1, 2014,
End date: Feb 28, 2018
"The aim of this research is to create multifunctional lightweight composite aerostructures utilising the unique properties of recently-developed carbon nanotube webs (CNTWs), produced from directly spinnable CNT forests (highly aligned CNTs grown on a silicon substrate). These webs will be strategically introduced into laminated carbon-fibre material to mitigate the current limitations primarily associated with poor impact damage resistance and poor electrical conductivity for lightning strike protection. The piezoresistive properties of CNTWs will also be exploited for structural health monitoring of bonded joints and their thermal conductivity investigated for potential anti-icing applications. Remarkably the inclusion of CNTWs would add negligible weight to the overall composite structure but a number of challenges will need to be overcome for their effective utilisation. This research proposal details a body of work which will address these challenges. A successful outcome will deliver a disruptive technology in the design and construction of the next generation of composite aerostructures. It will yield a significant weight reduction in future airframes and potentially lower maintenance costs, which will contribute to the overall aims of the European Union to reduce the environmental impact of aviation. Some of the additional functionalities, arising from the use of CNTWs, will also be of interest to other transport sectors and the wind energy industry."
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