Skip to main content Accessibility help

Assembly Strategies for Fully Aligned and Dispersed Morphology Controlled Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Composites Grown in Net-Shape

  • Benjamin L. Farmer (a1), Mark A. Beard (a2), Oana Ghita (a2), Robert Allen (a2) and Ken E. Evans (a2)...


Long carbon fibre polymer composites represent the state-of-the-art materials technology for high performance weight driven structures, such as airframes. Although a significant amount of optimisation remains to be done to fully exploit the benefits of long fibre composites, these materials are relatively speaking still very crude, when compared to what nature has achieved with wood or bone for example. Nanomaterials, and specifically carbon nanotubes (CNTs), have teased with their spectacular mechanical and physical properties in isolation. These headline properties have prompted much work into the manufacturing of composite materials using CNTs as reinforcements, but thus far, successful exploitation of these impressive properties has been modest. A gap remains before these materials represent a real competition to long carbon fibre composites, even though fairly modest applications such as CNTs as fillers for matrix toughening and imparting electrical functionality are showing some promise. In this paper a critique is made of various reinforcement approaches through the lens of ’nano-augmented, ’nano-engineered’ and ’nano-enabled’ categories as defined by Airbus. These approaches are compared to an analysis of nature’s ’baseline’. A new ’nano-enabled’ strategy for the growth of fully aligned and dispersed bulk CNT composite materials and structures, allowing for simultaneous multi-scalar morphological and topological optimisation, is described. This new strategy, analogous to nature’s approach, consists of the vapour phase growth of aligned forests of carbon nanotubes coupled to the environment of Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM). Early feasibility results are presented and currently identified challenges to successful scale-up are discussed.



Hide All
1.Simons, M., Cawse, J.L., Green, G., International Patent Application, WO 2008/056123 A1 (6 November 2006)
2.Iijima, S., Nature, 354, (6348):56–8 (1991)
3.Fratzl, P. and Weinkamer, R., Progress in Materials Science 52, 12631334 (2007)
4.Edelmann, W., Raeckers, B., Farmer, B., “Airbus View on Nanocomposites”, Wissenschaftstag 2008, accessed 18th November 2010
5.Windle, A.H., Composites Science and Technology 67, 929930 (2007)
6.Wicks, S. S., Guzman de Villoria, R., Wardle, B.L., Composites Science and Technology, 70 2028 (2010)
7.Li, Y., Kinloch, I.A., and Windle, A.H., Science, 304, 276278 (2004)
8.Zhang, M., Atkinson, K.R., Baughman, R.H., Science 306(5700), 13581361 (2004)
10.García, E.J., Hart, A.J., Wardle, B.L., Slocum, A.H.. Nanotechnology 18(16) 165602 (2007)
11.Boskovic, B.O., Stolojan, V., Khan, R.U.A., Haq, S., Silva, S.R.P., Nature Materials, 1, 165168 (2002)
12.Farmer, B.L. and Johns, D.M., International Patent Application, WO 2008/029178 A1 (5 September 2006)
13.Farmer, B.L. and Johns, D.M., International Patent Application, WO 2008/029179 A2 (5 September 2006)
14.Farmer, B.L. and Johns, D.M., International Patent Application, WO 2009/019510 A1 (6 August 2007)
15.Laake, L.V., Hart, A.J. and Slocum, A. H., Review of Scientific Instruments, 78, 083901 (2007)
16.Beard, M.A., Ghita, O., Farmer, B., Johns, D., Evans, K.E., Proceedings of the 14th European Conference on Composite Materials, Budapest, Hungary, 710 June, (2010).
17.Sansom, E.B., Rinderknecht, D., and Gharib, M., Nanotechnology, 19, 035302 (2008)



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed