Patterning Surface Mounted CNT Films on Composites Using Laser Etching
The impressive current-carrying capabilities of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) make them ideal candidates for replacing metal conductors, especially in settings where weight and corrosion are issues of concern. In this study we investigate the electrical and mechanical properties of composites where multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) were surface mounted on non-conductive composite surfaces and subsequently laser etched to form circuit-like patterns. The surface conductivity of these CNT films was measured and correlated to the number of layers deposited. Additionally, the Young’s modulus and tensile strength of cured, CNT-coated fiberglass prepreg were compared to those of identical samples that were laser etched at their midsection. This was done to determine the effect of laser etching on the mechanical properties of composites after the CNTs had been vaporized from the surface of their fiber network. In all cases, it was found that the CNT conductivity increased linearly as a function of the number of CNT layers deposited. Moreover, no statistically significant differences were observed in the tensile modulus and strength between the two groups of fiberglass. These results show promise for surface mounted CNT composites, which may find applications in sensors, circuit boards, EMI shielding, integral antennae, and lightning protection.
Authors: Alexander D. Christodoulides, Karim Aly, and Philip D. Bradford
Conference: SAMPE Seattle 2017