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Integration of Nanotube Paper into UHMWPE Multilayer Structures

Y. Martinez-Rubi, J. Jakubinek, S. Denommee, J. W. Guan, B. Simard, B. Ashrafi


Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fabrics and UHMWPE composite materials are increasingly used in modern armour due to their high strength-to-weight ratios and energy absorption capacities. Commercially available sheets of UHMWPE fibre composites can be layered and compacted to form armour structures. Selection of appropriate materials and design of the structure are effective approaches to develop energy dissipation materials with high mass specific energy absorption. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) exhibit unique mechanical properties, having excellent compression capability coupled with extreme structural flexibility and recovery. Macroscopic assemblies of CNTs with low density and excellent compression capability, with potential applications as energy absorption and protective material, have been developed (1, 2). CNT buckypaper is a free-standing nonwoven sheet, like conventional paper, composed of entangled CNT ropes. Such sheets are easy to handle and can be integrated similarly to other fiber fabrics into conventional composite manufacturing processes to fabricate nanocomposites. In this study, we explore the idea of layering CNT or BNNT buckypaper (BP) and UHMWPE fabrics to form composite panels with improved energy absorption capacity. The layered hybrid composites were fabricated by alternating UHMWPE plies and BP sheets using a hot-compression technique. To incorporate the BP into the UHMWPE panel, the BP was modified with a thermoplastic resin.

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