Browse Publications Technical Papers 2014-01-1061

Featherweight Composites Manufactured by Selective Nanobridization with Potential Applications in the Automotive Industry 2014-01-1061

Nanobridization is a nano-inspired process by which scalable material structures can be designed and manufactured by combining the concept of ‘Nano Free Volume’ with specific material molecules defining a systemic density (nano-density). This approach explores nanotechnology from a porosity perspective rather than nanoparticles thus minimizing health concerns with nanotechnology, while providing nanoporosity throughout the entirety of the composite system. Nanobridization may be viewed as a density system transformation of material heterogeneity utilizing a unified class of materials such as Polynanomers and in developing next generation structures such as Featherweight Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymers (CFRP). Polynanomers are further defined by the incorporation of hollow carbon fibers, electrospun nano-fibers, nano-pores and carbon nanotubes (CNT) into this newly established type of matrix. Nanobridization involves fractal structural design and constitutes a scalable structure from the nano- to the macro- scale and vice versa, resulting in a spatial density with significant overall weight reduction.
Featherweight composites are a characteristic example product of nanobridization process, as they include novel bio-inspired fractal structures which are combined with unprecedented mechanical and transport properties. Porosity is designed both at the macro- (honeycomb/foam type) and micro- (hollow carbon fiber foamed matrix and interphase) scales and can find immediate applications such as tooling and nonstructural or failure critical applications. Featherweight composite manufacturing introduces a new production process which includes novel steps, such as electrospinning of carbon fibers and aligned CNT incorporation into the novel polynanomeric matrix system, and an innovative, integrated, roll-to-roll (R2R) process sequence.
The main objective of this work is to discuss the manufacturing scalability of polynanomeric composites through nanobridization and to highlight potential relevant uses for this technology in the automotive industry. This type of material establishes a unique framework for creating the next-generation of composites technology that will be 25 to 40% lighter, while maintaining structural load-bearing characteristics such as stiffness and strength. Various polynanomers have been investigated in the Polymeric Composites Laboratory and will be discussed in this article.


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