Carbon fibre composites can be made smart by using graphene. Dr Nishar Hameed has been working at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne for two years on these projects.

“Carbon fibre composites have been frequently used in the aerospace sector, primarily due to their light weight.
 
More than 50 per cent of the structural components of the latest Boeing 787 Dreamliner are made from this material, making the aircraft lighter and enabling greater fuel efficiency.
 
Now the automotive sector is looking to incorporate these composite materials into passenger vehicle parts to make lighter cars that use less fuel.
 
While the demand for composites is on the rise in the automotive industry, challenges exist in manufacturing large volumes of these materials.
 
Another challenge, which Hameed and his team at Swinburne’s Manufacturing Futures Research Institute have been tackling, is how to provide composites with multi-functionality, and, in particular, so-called “smart” functionality.”
 
Recent research is exploring how graphene can be used to enable innovative processing and performance monitoring functions in carbon fibre composite structures. Dr Nishar Hameed talks to David Loneragan about how he and his team are making these materials “smart”.
 
In November 2018, Dr Hameed received the Young Tall Poppy Science Award for his research on advanced composite materials, an area he has been working on for some 10 years….
 
Hameed said that these “smart” composites can be created through the integration of highly conductive nanomaterials such as graphene that enable the structure to act as its own sensor.
 
“We are not talking here about traditional sensors that need to be attached or printed on to pre-existing structures, but structures that are themselves already sensors,” he said. “By using graphene nano-platelets we can convert a ‘dumb’ composite – one that doesn’t share any information – into a ‘smart’ composite that communicates vital information about the structure.”
 
One of the main areas where these smart composites will find application is in automotive manufacturing. But, according to Hameed, there are many opportunities across other industry sectors.
 
“We’ve just completed a project on a smart mining screen that can be used in the mining sector. These are composite structures, which are used for filtering coal,”

 
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Read full article over here Bringing “smart” carbon composites into the fourth industrial revolution

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