Multifunctional Composites - Printed Electronics for Structurally Integrated Health Monitoring of Fiber Reinforced Polymers
This project aims at the conception, fabrication and testing of multifunctional composites which are produced by integrating electrical components into fiber reinforced composites, making use of additive manufacturing techniques. Multifunctional composites can be used to facilitate structurally integrated health monitoring. To manufacture the printed electronics, electrically conductive inks and pastes based on carbon-nanoparticles are formulated and applied to the fiber reinforced composites by means of screen printing and inkjet printing. In this way, electrical components such as conductive paths and sensors are produced which can be used to detect structural damages through impedance and capacity measurements. The mechanical and electrical properties of the components are identified to design the multifunctional composites and to facilitate the simulation of the components' mechanical and electrical behavior. The integration of the printed electrical components into the fiber reinforced composite is done in a way so that a chemical bonding is created between the conductive paths or sensors and the fiber reinforced composite. The mechanical properties of the resulting printed composites then show no or negligible difference from the mechanical properties of the plain composites. To verify this, mechanical properties of local areas are identified and the entire multifunctional composites are tested in static and cyclic mechanical load tests. At last, a prototype is built to demonstrate that the developed material combinations, printing processes, sensor designs and -positionings facilitate structurally integrated health monitoring of multifunctional composites with printed, highly integrated sensors.