Self-Sensing, Lightweight and High Modulus Carbon Nanotube Composites for Improved Efficiency and Safety of Electric Vehicles
To be published on November 21, 2019 by SAE International in United States
Event: NuGen Summit
Carbon Composites (CFRP) have been touted to be an essential component of future automobiles due to their mechanical properties and lightweight. CFRP has been adopted successfully for secondary and primary structures in Aerospace industry. In Automobiles, they are incorporated in models like the BMW i-series. CFRP suffers from 2 major problems. Delamination of Composites leads to catastrophic and rapid failure which could be dangerous in passenger vehicles. Delamination occurs whenever there is a shock on the composite. Secondly, Composites need regular expensive maintenance to ensure that the material is intact and will not compromise passenger safety. Carbon Nanotubes in composites have shown a substantial increase in delamination resistance. A 0.1wt% addition of HiPCO® Single-walled Carbon Nanotube provides both self-sensing and improved fracture resistance. Here we report results of our work with NoPo HiPCO® Nanotubes with small amounts of Iron. 6K Carbon fiber was used as the fiber reinforcement. NoPo HiPCO® Nanotubes were reinforced in the Epoxy system by sonication. HiPCO® Nanotubes were produced using standard parameters. The coupons of CENCE composite were made using VARTM followed by curing. A 3D manual woven coupon was also created using technique described in on a device built at NoPo Coupons exhibited an increase in conductivity, measured on Rigol DS4024 digital Oscilloscope for a voltage input of 5V. Part size was limited to 100x100x100 due to manual weaving limits. Higher nanotube loading influences the tensile strength properties of the material. No study with NoPo HiPCO® has ever been published and this is the first data relating to the same. In conclusion, a new Carbon-Nanotube Enhanced Carbon Composite (CENCE) has been demonstrated to solve major problems with Carbon Fibers and thus makes them useful in primary structures of automobiles while providing enhanced reliability and safety to the user.