E.J. García, B.L. Wardle, A.J. Hart, N. Yamamoto. Composites Science and Technology 68:2034-2041, 2008. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compscitech.2008.02.028]
A hybrid composite architecture of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), advanced fibers and a matrix is described, from CNT synthesis and characterization through to standard mechanical and electrical laminate tests. Direct growth of aligned CNTs on the surface of advanced fibers in a woven fabric enables enhancement in multifunctional laminate performance, as demonstrated by a 69% increase in interlaminar shear strength and 106 (in-plane) and 108 (through-thickness) increases in laminate-level electrical conductivity. Processes developed include dip-coating of CNT growth catalyst and atmospheric-pressure chemical vapor deposition of dense aligned CNTs. A capillarity-driven mechanism is presented to explain the observed effective and uniform wetting of the aligned CNTs in the interior of the laminate by unmodified thermoset polymer resins.