Prof. Kamal Krishna Kar


Umang Gupta Chair Professor
Professor, Department of Mechanical En

and Materials Science Programme
Indian Institute of Technology

Kanpur 208016, UP, India

                                           Phone: (+91) (512) 2597687/2598703/(+91) (0)9415081153

                                                                                                     Fax: (+91) (512) 2597408



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What do you menn high performance composites???


Composite is a mixture of two material. Can you make a composite to fulfill our dream which is shown in this figure. Let us try....

'From cars to medicine, nano tubes may be miracle material'. 'They (Young's modulus ~1.5 TPa, Tensile strength ~100 GPa) are stronger than steel and as flexible as plastic, conduct energy better than almost any material ever discovered and can be made from unexotic raw materials such as methane gas', Michael Kanellos, Special to ZDNet India, October 21, 2003.

The potentially outstanding properties of carbon nanotubes (Young's modulus ~1.5 TPa (2.8 to 3.6 TPa), Tensile strength ~100 GPa) will be of little value unless they can be incorporated into a matrix. Composite materials containing carbon fibers/glass fibers are, of course, already quite widely used in application ranging from aerospace to sports equipments. In such materials the matrix can be plastic, epoxy, metal or carbon. The incorporation of carbon/glass fiber into the matrix not only confers strength and elasticity to the material but also greatly enhances toughness that is its ability to resist cracking.

The usual method of incorporating small, discontinuous fibers into the matrix is firstly to shape the fibers into a preform and then to add the liquid matrix material under pressure. Adding the fibers to the liquid is not usually an option, since even quite small concentrations of fibers can have a thickening effect, which makes mixing all but impossible. However, it should be noted that adding a matrix material to an array of nanoscale fiber may not be without difficulties. As a result of surface tension, the amount of pressure needed to produce infiltration into a fiber array increases as the spacing between the fibers decreases. Since carbon nanotubes are far smaller than normal reinforcing fiber, the spacing between the coils will be far less than that for normal fibers for a given volume fraction. Thus the pressure required for infiltration may be very high. The experimental work, which has been carried out till date on the preparation of carbon nanotube composites indicated that achieving sufficient infiltration, is a serious problem. Few other serious problems are (1) bond between the tubes and the matrix, (2) The optimum aspect ratio of the fiber and (3) dispersion of nano tube in to the matrix.