FURI | Fall 2020

Improving the Design Freedom and Mechanical Properties of Carbon Fiber

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Composite materials, specifically carbon fibers, are becoming more common in applications that require high tensile strength and modulus. Typically, carbon fiber is given structure by its long continuous fibers; however, the fiber reinforcements’ anisotropic nature often requires the fibers to be highly aligned to obtain advantageous material properties. This challenge imposes limitations on the fibers as strong curvatures, and sharp angles will fracture the reinforcements, compromising the mechanical properties. This research investigates using short, aligned fibers in place of long, continuous fibers to produce counterparts of similar structural applications. Filament based 3D printing techniques can be used to leverage the nano-fiber alignment, improving the mechanical properties, and design freedom.

Student researcher

Andrew Charles Walsh

Mechanical engineering

Hometown: Idaho Falls, Idaho, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2023