Fitter frames: Nanotubes boost structural integrity of composites

Nanotubes boost structural integrity of compositesTroy, N.Y. – A new research discovery at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute could lead to tougher, more durable composite frames for aircraft, watercraft, and automobiles.

Epoxy composites are increasingly being incorporated into the design of new jets, planes, and other vehicles. Composite material frames are extremely lightweight, which lowers the overall weight of the vehicle and boosts fuel efficiency. The downside is that epoxy composites can be brittle, which is detrimental to its structural integrity.

Professor Nikhil Koratkar, of Rensselaer’s Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering, has demonstrated that incorporating chemically treated carbon nanotubes into an epoxy composite can significantly improve the overall toughness, fatigue resistance, and durability of a composite frame.

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