Engineering Strong, Highly Conductive Nanotube Fibers Via Fusion
This project explores how to create high-performance carbon fibers that could be used for applications in aerospace, high power density energy storage, and lightweight cabling/wiring. The main challenge of creating such fibers is that they need to be mechanically strong while also being exceptional conductors of heat and electricity. To accomplish this goal, the researchers are studying how to fuse networks that contain many nanometer-sized carbon tubes ("carbon nanotubes") into a larger, more seamless structure. The variables being studied include ways to organize the carbon nanotubes into the network and to use electric voltage to fuse the carbon nanotubes together. Experimental studies, computational simulations, and data mining techniques are being applied to understand the complex relationships between the structure of the fused networks and how they perform. Characterization data and coarse-grained atomistic simulation of fused fibers relate physical properties to structure and structure to processing. These efforts are complemented by statistical data mining efforts to extract the complex relationship between fiber processing and their properties.