High performance composite materials: Characterization of carbon fiber reinforced epoxy matrix composites with carbon nanotubes as reinforcement agent within the matrix
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This project is about mechanical characterization of high performance, structural composite materials. Within the context of this project, a commercial, now available epoxy resin reinforced with carbon nanotubes (CNT’s) was compared with a high performance commercially available epoxy resin, also using unidirectional carbon fiber as reinforcement agent. CNT’s are a relatively new, interesting topic to study within the materials science, and because of the potential shown in previous studies, are of utter importance for critical structural applications, such as those found in the aerospace industry. During this project previous references were studied and used as comparison material to design the methodological framework followed in this work. To observe CNT’s benefits, samples tailored to American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards were manufactured and tested in order to quantify the mechanical properties discussed in this. ASTM standards provide both the sample dimension requirements and the testing procedure to be followed in order to obtain reliable, organized, meaningful data from proposed tests. Tensile, shear and flexural strain-strength tests were performed in samples using both kinds of resins. Data collected from tests was organized, plotted and analyzed to understand mechanical behavior of the samples during the tests. Main engineering values such as ultimate tensile strength, engineering stress, young’s modulus, shear strength and so were gathered and documented in this project. CNT’s reinforced epoxy samples outperformed the common epoxy samples in general, showing a better behavior as seen in the deformation energy absorbed in the samples in each test. It is encouraged to keep the research on the CNT’s topic as a promising and relevant technology called to grow in use and performance in the future, as well as to expand and improve the difficulties and limitations found in this project. This project shows that even when using a low CNT’s content as reinforcement agent within the matrix, evaluated mechanical properties are effectively enhanced, making the CNT’s a good candidate for future composite material components where weight saving and better structural mechanical performance is needed.
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