Using Non-Destructive Testing to Predict Bending Modulus of Carbon Infiltrated-Carbon Nanotubes

Fred Stile Fagergren, Brigham Young University


Fabrication of carbon infiltrated carbon nanotubes (CI-CNT) can result in large mechanical property variation, and methods to characterize properties usually involve destructive testing. Finding a non-destructive way to test for stiffness of this material reduces the number of parts that have to be made. It also simplifies testing of complex parts. The stiffness of CI-CNT beams is related to the type of carbon material infiltrated between the carbon nanotubes (CNTs), how it interacts with the CNTs, and how much of it there is. The amount of material can be estimated using the density of the beam, and both the type of material and its interaction with the carbon nanotubes can be approximated through analysis of the Raman spectra taken at the surface. A combination of these two observations can be related to the effective material stiffness. The relationship can be fitted with a power function, with a variance of 1.41 GPa, which is about 11% of the maximum stiffness of the samples tested. This variance is similar to the larger variations in CI-CNT beam stiffnesses found in a single batch of beams.