Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Novel Carbon Nanotube-Based Non-Woven Composite Sensors: Processing, Characterization and Potential Applications



Carbon nanotube-based composites have exhibited tremendous potential for a variety of multifunctional applications. Recent advances in processing of carbon nanotube-based composites have allowed for the formation of conductive networks on the surfaces of a wide range of fibers. In this research, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are selectively deposited onto randomly oriented, non-woven aramid fabric using a dipcoating process as well as an innovative electrophoretic deposition process. The formation of these electrically conductive networks enable carbon nanotube based nanocomposites to be used as sensors. Carbon nanotube-based nanocomposites exhibit piezoresistivity, that is, the resistance changes a lot more than the standard resistance change due to deformation. This unusually large resistance change is because of the nanotube-nanotube tunneling effect. These sensors are then characterized under different loading conditions and optimized for improved sensitivity. This novel approach of utilizing fibers as the backbone of the piezoresistive network enables broad application flexibility for integrating nanotubes into composites for strain and damage detection capabilities. Opportunities for future structural health monitoring will be discussed.

Full Text: