A Nondestructive Evaluation Technique for Detecting, Locating and Quantifying Damage in Large Polymer Composite Structures Made of Electrically Non-Conductive Fibers and Carbon Nanotube Networks

A novel and practical nondestructive evaluation (NDE) technique is presented to detect, locate and quantify damages that occur at one or several locations in large polymer composite structures made of electrically nonconductive fibers and carbon nanotube networks. In this technique, multiwalled carbon nanotubes were embedded into epoxy resin to make electrically conductive matrix. This modified matrix was used to prepare glass fabric/epoxy/MWCNT composite plates and kevlar fabric/epoxy/MWCNT composite plates. The large plate was mounted with grid points made from silver-epoxy paste. The electrical resistance values between the grid points were measured and used as a reference set. Drilled holes and impact damages were created in the large plates. These damages were detected, located and quantified based on the significant local variations in the distribution of electrical resistance change.

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