Piezoresistivity Characterization of Polymer Bonded Energetic Nanocomposites under Cyclic Load Cases for Structural Health Monitoring Applications
Rocker, Samantha Nicole
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The strain and damage sensing abilities of randomly oriented multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) dispersed in the polymer binder of energetic composites were experimentally investigated. Ammonium perchlorate (AP) crystals served as the inert energetic and atomized aluminum as the metallic fuel, both of which were combined to create a representative fuel-oxidizer filler often used for aerospace propulsive applications. MWCNTs were dispersed within an elastomer binder of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), and hybrid energetics were fabricated from it, with matrix material comprised of the identified fillers. The nanocomposites were characterized based on their stress-strain response under monotonic uniaxial compression to failure, allowing for the assessment of effects of MWCNTs and aluminum powder on average compressive elastic modulus, peak stress, and strain to failure. The piezoresistive response was measured as the change in impedance with applied monotonic strain in both the mesoscopic and microscopic strain regimes of mechanical loading for each material system, as well as under ten cycles of applied compressive loading within those same strain regimes. Gauge factors were calculated to quantify the magnitude of strain and damage sensing in MWCNT-enhanced material systems. Electrical response of single-cycle thermal loading was explored with epoxy in place of the elastomer binder of the previously discussed studies. Piezoresistive response due to microscale damage from thermal expansion was observed exclusively in material systems enhanced by MWCNTs. The results discussed herein validate structural health monitoring (SHM) applications for embedded carbon nanotube sensing networks in polymer-based energetics under unprecedented cyclic loads.
- Masters Theses