Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) show promise for multifunctional materials for a range of applications due to their outstanding combination of mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties. These promising mechanical properties, however, have not translated well to CNT nanocomposites fabricated by conventional methods due to the weak load transfer between tubes or tube bundles.

The representative stress-strain curves of the processed polyaniline/CNT yarn nanocomposites under a tensile load. (NASA)

Scientists at NASA Langley Research Center have developed a composite material that demonstrates improved mechanical properties approaching those of conventional carbon fiber composites and possesses relatively high electrical conductivity.

Starting with carbon nanotube paper, tape, or yarn, the CNT material was impregnated with monomeric aniline and was then polymerized in-situ with polyaniline, a conjugated conductive polymer, to create a nanocomposite, followed by stretching, hot pressing, and carbonization to densify and improve the interface integrity.

NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. Please contact The Technology Gateway at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to initiate licensing discussions. Follow this link here  for more information.

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This article first appeared in the March, 2020 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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