Enhancement of the Electrical Conductivity and Interlaminar Shear Strength of CNT/GFRP Hierarchical Composite Using an Electrophoretic Deposition Technique

Materials (Basel). 2017 Sep 22;10(10):1120. doi: 10.3390/ma10101120.


In this work, an electrophoretic deposition (EPD) technique has been used for deposition of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) on the surface of glass fiber textures (GTs) to increase the volume conductivity and the interlaminar shear strength (ILSS) of CNT/glass fiber-reinforced polymers (GFRPs) composites. Comprehensive experimental studies have been conducted to establish the influence of electric field strength, CNT concentration in EPD suspension, surface quality of GTs, and process duration on the quality of deposited CNT layers. CNT deposition increased remarkably when the surface of glass fibers was treated with coupling agents. Deposition of CNTs was optimized by measuring CNT's deposition mass and process current density diagrams. The effect of optimum field strength on CNT deposition mass is around 8.5 times, and the effect of optimum suspension concentration on deposition rate is around 5.5 times. In the optimum experimental setting, the current density values of EPD were bounded between 0.5 and 1 mA/cm². Based on the cumulative deposition diagram, it was found that the first three minutes of EPD is the effective deposition time. Applying optimized EPD in composite fabrication of treated GTs caused a drastic improvement on the order of 10⁸ times in the volume conductivity of the nanocomposite laminate in comparison with simple GTs specimens. Optimized CNT deposition also enhanced the ILSS of hierarchical nanocomposites by 42%.

Keywords: carbon nanotube; electrophoretic deposition; glass fiber; hierarchical composite; interface; interlaminar shear strength.