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Optical Properties of ATO Sol-gel Coated Carbon Fibers

  • Brandon Richard (a1), Norma Alcantar (a2), Andrew Hoff (a3) and Sylvia Thomas (a1)


Recent trends in composite research include the development of structural materials with multiple functionalities. In new studies, novel materials are being designed, developed, modified, and implemented into composite designs. Typically, an increase in functionality requires additional material phases within one system. The presence of excessive phases can result in deterioration of individual or overall properties. True multi-functional materials must maintain all properties at or above the minimum operating limit. In this project, samples of Sb-doped SnO2(ATO) sol-gel solutions are used to coat carbon fibers and are heat treated at a temperature range of 200 – 500 °C. Results from this research are used to model the implementation of sol-gel coatings into carbon fiber reinforced multifunctional composite systems. This research presents a novel thermo-responsive sol-gel/ (dopant) combination and evaluation of the actuating responses due to various heat treatment temperatures. While ATO is a well-known transparent conductive material, the implementation of ATO on carbon fibers for infrared thermal reflectivity has not been examined. These coatings serve as actuators capable of reflecting thermal infrared radiation in mid-range and near-range wavelengths (λ). By altering the ATO sol gel thickness and heat treatment temperatures, optimal optical properties are obtained. While scanning electron microscopy (SEM) is used for imaging, electron diffraction spectroscopy (EDS) is used to verify the compounds present in the coatings. Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy was performed to analyze the reflectivity in the infrared spectra and analyze the crystal structures after heat treatments.



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