Multi-Functional Carbon Fibre Composites using Carbon Nanotubes as an Alternative to Polymer Sizing

Thomas Pozegic, Jose V. Anguita, Ian Hamerton, K. D G Imalka Jayawardena, Jeng-Shiung Chen, V. Stolojan, Paolo Ballochi, Robert Walsh, S. Ravi P Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)
548 Downloads (Pure)


Carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRP) were introduced to the aerospace, automobile and civil engineering industries for their high strength and low weight. A key feature of CFRP is the polymer sizing - a coating applied to the surface of the carbon fibres to assist handling, improve the interfacial adhesion between fibre and polymer matrix and allow this matrix to wet-out the carbon fibres. In this paper, we introduce an alternative material to the polymer sizing, namely carbon nanotubes (CNTs) on the carbon fibres, which in addition imparts
electrical and thermal functionality. High quality CNTs are grown at a high density as a result of a 35 nm aluminium interlayer which has previously been shown to minimise diffusion of the catalyst in the carbon fibre substrate. A CNT modified-CFRP show 300%, 450% and 230% improvements in the electrical conductivity on the ‘surface’, ‘through-thickness’ and ‘volume’ directions, respectively. Furthermore, through-thickness thermal conductivity calculations
reveal a 107% increase. These improvements suggest the potential of a direct replacement for lightning strike solutions and to enhance the efficiency of current de-icing solutions employed in the aerospace industry.
Original languageEnglish
Article number37334
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2016


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