Table of Contents
Journal of Composites
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 705687, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/705687
Research Article

Multifunctional Thermally Remendable Nanocomposites

1ERC Inc., 2224 Bay Area Boulevard , Houston, TX 77058, USA
2nanoComposix, 4878 Ronson Ct., San Diego, CA 92111, USA
3NASA Johnson Space Center, 2101 NASA Parkway, Houston, TX 77058, USA

Received 7 May 2014; Accepted 20 June 2014; Published 7 July 2014

Academic Editor: Yuanxin Zhou

Copyright © 2014 Edward D. Sosa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Challenges associated with damage tolerance in polymer matrix composites must be successfully addressed in order to ensure highly reliable structures with significant weight savings. Self-healing materials provide a viable means to surmount damage tolerance concerns, thereby allowing for the realization of the mass reduction such structures have promised but not yet achieved. Introduction of multifunctional properties into self-healing composites can further extend their usefulness. This study examines the incorporation of carbon nanotubes into a self-healing composite in order to achieve this. Composite panels were fabricated with carbon fibers, a bismaleimide tetrafuran (2MEP4F) polymer resin, and various carbon nanotube materials. The composites exhibit enhancement in electrical, mechanical, and thermal properties. The healing mechanism is a thermally activated reversible polymerization of the 2MEP4F resin. The proposed method of heating exploits the enhanced microwave absorption inherent to carbon nanotubes to provide the thermal energy required for the reversible polymerization. Microwave testing demonstrated that the heating efficiency is increased, allowing uniform heating to the required temperature for polymer healing. Impacted composites show localized heating at the damage site, which implies that microwave heating can also be used as a means for damage detection and potential structural health monitoring.