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Multi-functional, Self-healing Composites

Research machine
Title: Multi-functional self-healing composites created via automated manufacturing
Researchers: Andrew Burke
Sponsors: NASA
Collaborators: Aurora Flight Sciences
Description: Multifunctional composite materials, in which additional functions exist beyond the primary structural function, offer broad scope for system-level performance enhancements. Key functions targeted for composite structures include thermal management, self-healing, and structural health monitoring capabilities. Aerospace and other advanced composites applications, which will benefit from these capabilities, are increasingly being manufactured via Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) but the lack of available material systems suitable for AFP hinders the manufacture of these multifunctional features.
I present efforts to create prepreg materials suitable for AFP processing and to characterize the resulting structures’ multifunctional performance. Specifically, the material systems explored include sacrificial filament prepregs and carbon nanotube (CNT)-containing prepregs. These materials are targeted for microvascular-based thermal management and self-healing, as well as structural health monitoring of composites, respectively.