Structure dependencies for multiscale polymer composites using extrusion processes
Nixon, Jason Robert
Bigio, David I
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Multiscale reinforcement, using carbon microfibers and multi-walled carbon nanotubes, of polymer matrix composites manufactured by twin-screw extrusion is investigated for enhanced mechanical and thermal properties with an emphasis on the use of a diverging flow in the die for fluid mechanical fiber manipulation. Using fillers at different length scales (microscale and nanoscale), synergistic combinations have been identified to produce distinct mechanical and thermal behavior. Fiber manipulation has been demonstrated experimentally and computationally, and has been shown to enhance thermal conductivity significantly. Finally, a new physics driven predictive model for thermal conductivity has been developed based on fiber orientation during flow, which is shown to successfully capture composite thermal conductivity.