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Mechanical behaviour of advanced composite laminates embedded with carbon nanotubes: review

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conference contribution
posted on 16.03.2011, 15:27 by Guanyan Xie, Gang ZhouGang Zhou, Xujin BaoXujin Bao
Embedding carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in load-bearing composite laminate hosts and thereby turning them into nanolaminates is a rapidly emerging field and has tremendous potential in enhancing mechanical performance of host laminates. This state-of-the-art review intends to provide physical insight into the understanding of enhancing mechanisms of processed and controlled CNTs in nano-laminates. It focuses on four aspects: (1) physical characteristics of CNTs including CNT length, diameter and weight percentage; (2) processing and control techniques of CNTs in fabrication of nano-laminates including distribution, dispersion and orientation controls of CNTs; (3) mechanical properties along with their testing methods including tension, in-plane compression, interlaminar shear (ILS), flexure, mode I and mode II fracture toughness as well as compression-after-impact (CAI); and (4) post-mortem microscopic corroborative evidence after mechanical testing. As this review indicates, selective and uniform production of CNTs with specific dimensions and physical properties has yet to be achieved on a consistent basis. There is little control over CNT orientations in most fabrication processes of nano-laminates except for some cases associated with chemical vapour deposition (CVD). There are only two reports on the in-plane compression and there is none on in-plane shear. For reinforcement-dominated mechanical properties such as tension and flexure, there is little enhancement as reported. However, substantial enhancement in in-plane compression strength was reported. For matrix-dominated mechanical properties such as ILS strength and mode-I and mode-II fracture toughness, significant enhancement, albeit with substantially varying degrees, has been reported. In the meanwhile, the lack of consistent characterisation in those properties was also noticeable. Post-mortem microscopic corroborative evidence was very limited.


Carbon nanotubes (CNTs), nano-laminates, mechanical properties



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Materials


XIE, G., ZHOU, G. and BAO, X., 2009. Mechanical behaviour of advanced composite laminates embedded with carbon nanotubes: review. IN: Leng, J., Asundi, A.K., Ecke, W. (eds.). Second International Conference on Smart Materials and Nanotechnology in Engineering, Proceedings of SPIE, 7493, 74932E, 20 pp.


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