skip to main content

Title: Fabrication and Mechanical Properties of POSS Coated CNTs Reinforced Expancel foam core Sandwich Structures
Background:: Sandwich structures are progressively being used in various engineering applications due to the superior bending-stiffness-to-weight ratio of these structures. We adapted a novel technique to incorporate carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes (POSS) into a sandwich composite structure utilizing a sonochemical and high temperature vacuum assisted resin transfer molding technique. Objective:: The objective of this work was to create a sandwich composite structure comprised of a nanophased foam core and reinforced nanophased face sheets, and to examine the thermal and mechanical properties of the structure. To prepare sandwich structure, POSS nanoparticles were sonochemically attached to CNTs and dispersed in a high temperature resin system to make the face sheet materials and also coated on expandable thermoplastic microspheres for the fabrication of foam core materials. Method:: The nanophased foam core was fabricated with POSS infused thermoplastic microspheres (Expancel) using a Tetrahedron MTP-14 programmable compression molder. The reinforced nanophased face sheet were fabricated by infusing POSS coated CNT in epoxy resin and then curing into a compression stainless steel mold. Result:: Thermal analysis of POSS-infused thermoplastic microspheres foam (TMF) showed an increase in thermal stability in both nitrogen and oxygen atmospheres, 19% increase in thermal residue were observed for 4 more » wt% GI-POSS TMF compared to neat TMF. Quasi-static compression results indicated significant increases (73%) in compressive modulus, and an increase (5%) in compressive strength for the 1 wt% EC-POSS/CNTs resin system. The nanophased sandwich structure constructed from the above resin system and the foam core system displayed an increase (9%) in modulus over the neat sandwich structure. Conclusion:: The incorporation of POSS-nanofillier in the foam core and POSS-coated nanotubes in the face sheet significantly improved the thermal and mechanical properties of sandwich structure. Furthermore, the sandwich structure that was constructed from nanophased resin system showed an increase in modulus, with buckling in the foam core but no visible cracking. « less
; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Current Applied Polymer Science
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites have been increasingly used to replace metal parts in many industries such as aerospace, marine, automotive, and sporting goods. The CFRP parts compared with their metallic counter parts have the advantages of lightweight, significantly higher tensile strength, stiffer, and corrosion resistant. On the other hand, compared with many metal parts, the CFRP parts have many well-known disadvantages including the lower toughness, lower through-thickness tensile and shear strengths, lower thermal conductivity, lower electrical conductivity, and lower operating temperature. These disadvantages have made the conversion from metal parts into CFRP parts challenging and costly to design, manufacture, and maintain. The use of nanoparticles in polymer has been studied in the recent two decades. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and carbon nanofibers (CNFs) have been dispersed in various thermoset and thermoplastic polymers and improved the mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties; however, the properties were not comparable to CFRP. Later, researchers tried to infuse CNTs or CNFs into either carbon fiber preforms [1] or glass fiber preforms [2] for improving the mechanical properties. But the results were marginal and with great uncertainty due to the challenges of nanoparticle dispersion, filtering, and alignment while being infused through the fiber preform. Themore »glass fiber preform experiments ended with relatively more consistent improvement than the carbon fiber preform experiments since that the glass fiber preform has significantly larger pores than the carbon fiber preform' s. The small pore size presented a great challenge for infusing millions of unaligned long CNTs or CNFs through the carbon fiber preform without being filtered. To infuse long CNFs or CNTs through the carbon fiber preform and achieve reliable improvements, especially for 55% or higher carbon fiber volume fraction with increasingly tighter pores, an innovative plan for the processing and nano-reinforcing strategy is necessary. The z-threading strategy [3, 4, 5] has been reported to have consistent experimental successes in achieving the statistically meaningful improvement in multifunctional properties. The manufacturing steps of the CNF z-threaded CFRP (ZT-CFRP) are: (1) disperse the CNFs in a resin, (2) use a strong electrical field to align the CNFs in either the B-stage epoxy film or a CNF/resin impregnated sponge layer, whereas the CNFs are aligned in the through-thickness direction of the film or sponge layer. (3) place the resin film or sponge layer on a preheated dry carbon fiber fabric and press the resin film into the hot carbon fabric and allow the resin flow to carry the well-aligned CNFs to thread through the pores in the carbon fabric. (4) cool down the resin saturated and CNF z-threaded carbon fiber fabric to obtain the ZT-CFRP prepreg. (5) use the ZT-CFRP prepreg to make the ZT-CFRP laminate. Compared with the traditional CFRP, the ZT-CFRP laminates were reported of having improvement in the Mode-I delamination toughness, interlaminar shear strength, longitudinal compressive strength, through-thickness electrical conductivity, through-thickness thermal conductivity, and can reach the carbon fiber volume fraction of 55-80%. It is an effective approach to achieve a multifunctional CFRP for potentially expanding CFRP's applications.« less
  2. During this study, full-size wood composite sandwich panels, 1.2 m by 2.4 m (4 ft by 8 ft), with a biaxial corrugated core were evaluated as a building construction material. Considering the applications of this new building material, including roof, floor, and wall paneling, sandwich panels with one and two corrugated core(s) were fabricated and experimentally evaluated. Since primary loads applied on these sandwich panels during their service life are live load, snow load, wind, and gravity loads, their bending and compression behavior were investigated. To improve the thermal characteristics, the cavities within the sandwich panels created by the corrugated geometry of the core were filled with a closed-cell foam. The R-values of the sandwich panels were measured to evaluate their energy performance. Comparison of the weight indicated that fabrication of a corrugated panel needs 74% less strands and, as a result, less resin compared to a strand-based composite panel, such as oriented strand board (OSB), of the same size and same density. Bending results revealed that one-layer core sandwich panels with floor applications under a 4.79 kPa (100 psf) bending load are able to meet the smallest deflection limit of L/360 when the span length (L) is 137.16 cmmore »(54 in) or less. The ultimate capacity of two-layered core sandwich panels as a wall member was 94% and 158% higher than the traditional walls with studs under bending and axial compressive loads, respectively. Two-layered core sandwich panels also showed a higher ultimate capacity compared to structural insulated panels (SIP), at 470% and 235% more in bending and axial compression, respectively. Furthermore, normalized R-values, the thermal resistance, of these sandwich panels, even with the presence of thermal bridging due to the core geometry, was about 114% and 109% higher than plywood and oriented strand board, respectively.« less
  3. Carbon fiber (CF)-reinforced thermoplastic composites have been widely used in different structural applications due to their superior thermal and mechanical properties. The big area additive manufacturing (BAAM) system, developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, has been used to manufacture several composite components, demonstration vehicles, molds, and dies. These components have been designed and fabricated using various CF-reinforced thermoplastics. In this study, the dynamic rheological and mechanical properties of a material commonly used in additive manufacturing, 20 wt% CF-acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), as well as three CF-reinforced high-temperature polymers, 25 wt% CF-polyphenylsulfone (PPSU), 35 wt% CF-polyethersulfone (PES), and 40 wt% CF-polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), used to print molds were investigated. The viscoelastic properties, namely storage modulus, loss modulus, tan delta, and complex viscosity, of these composites were studied, and the rheological behavior was related to the BAAM extrusion and bead formation process. The results showed 20 wt% CF-ABS and 40 wt% CF-PPS to display a more dominant elastic component at all frequencies tested while 25 wt% CF-PPSU and 35 wt% CF-PES have a more dominant viscous component. This viscoelastic behavior is then used to inform the deposition and bead formation process during extrusion on the BAAM system.
  4. Debonding at the core–skin interphase region is one of the primary failure modes in core sandwich composites under shear loads. As a result, the ability to characterize the mechanical properties at the interphase region between the composite skin and core is critical for design analysis. This work intends to use nanoindentation to characterize the viscoelastic properties at the interphase region, which can potentially have mechanical properties changing from the composite skin to the core. A sandwich composite using a polyvinyl chloride foam core covered with glass fiber/resin composite skins was prepared by vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding. Nanoindentation at an array of sites was made by a Berkovich nanoindenter tip. The recorded nanoindentation load and depth as a function of time were analyzed using viscoelastic analysis. Results are reported for the shear creep compliance and Young’s relaxation modulus at various locations of the interphase region. The change of viscoelastic properties from higher values close to the fiber composite skin region to the smaller values close to the foam core was captured. The Young’s modulus at a given strain rate, which is also equal to the time-averaged Young’s modulus across the interphase region was obtained. The interphase Young’s modulus at a loadingmore »rate of 1 mN/s was determined to change from 1.4 GPa close to composite skin to 0.8 GPa close to the core. This work demonstrated the feasibility and effectiveness of nanoindentation-based interphase characterizations to be used as an input for the interphase stress distribution calculations, which can eventually enrich the design process of such sandwich composites.« less
  5. Abstract The composite sandwich structures with foam core and fiber-reinforced polymer skin are prone to damage under local impact. The mechanical behavior of sandwich panels (glass fiber-reinforced polymer [GFRP] skin reinforced with lattice webs and syntactic foams core) is studied under crushing load. The crushing behavior, failure modes, and energy absorption are correlated with the number of GFRP layers in facesheets and webs, fiber volume fractions of facesheets in both longitudinal and transverse directions, and density and thickness of syntactic foam. The test results revealed that increasing the number of FRP layers of lattice webs was an effective way to enhance the energy absorption of sandwich panels without remarkable increase in the peak load. Moreover, a three-dimensional finite-element (FE) model was developed to simulate the mechanical behavior of the syntactic foam sandwich panels, and the numerical results were compared with the experimental results. Then, the verified FE model was applied to conduct extensive parametric studies. Finally, based on experimental and numerical results, the optimal design of syntactic foam sandwich structures as energy absorption members was obtained. This study provides theoretical basis and design reference of a novel syntactic foam sandwich structure for applications in bridge decks, ship decks, carriages, airframes,more »wall panels, anticollision guard rails and bumpers, and railway sleepers.« less