FURI | Spring 2019

Nanoscale Material Characterization of Polymer Matrix Composites Under Hygrothermal Conditions

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This experiment analyzed the structural capabilities of polymer matrix composite (PMC) samples after many years of exposure to hygrothermal conditioning. This strong, form-adaptive, lightweight material is suitable for use on critical structures including powerplants and spacecrafts, however, the degradation impacts from long-term exposure to heat and humidity is yet unverified. To study that phenomena, aged samples of PMC were sliced into filaments and analyzed using PeakForce mode of Atomic Force Microscopy with a 10nm radial tip. This data allowed for the analysis of strength and crack propagation to enhance understanding of environmental influences on PMC mechanical properties.

Student researcher

Portrait of Anita Totillo

Anita Totillo

Mechanical engineering

Hometown: Tucson, Arizona

Graduation date: Spring 2019