Title : Multi-functional layered nanocomposites for aircraft applications
In recent years, there has been increased emphasis on ‘Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA)’ with the dual aims of reducing the energy consumption as well as emissions. Several new concepts for the aircraft have been proposed to reduce drag, improve engine efficiency, and reduce mass. In addition to various aerodynamic and propulsion technologies that are being researched to achieve the goals of ERA, reduction of aircraft mass has become one of the major drivers in developing new aircraft design concepts, novel materials and manufacturing processes. Among the novel materials, nanocomposites with multi-functionality offer the promise of weight reduction, reduced complexity, and integrated health management of aircraft components/systems. The new aircraft structures using multi-functional nanocomposites can be built using additive manufacturing. The focus of this paper is on recent developments in layer-by-layer assembly of nanomaterials in developing new nanocomposite structures. Macroscale assembly of the nanomaterials requires special techniques with molecular scale component manipulation; it is different from conventional composite processing techniques. This technique offers the possibility of controlling the structure of composite materials at nanometer scale with high degree of accuracy and therefore allows the establishment of design rules for composite structures initially at small scale and then their possible replication at a larger scale using other methods of composite manufacturing. It is a method of alternating deposition of oppositely charged components from dilute solutions or dispersions on a suitable substrate. It is becoming a widely used method for the preparation of multifunctional thin films due to its simplicity, robustness and versatility. Introduction of hybrid organic/inorganic films has further enriched the functionality and applicability of layer-by-layer assembly. While this field covers a vast number of molecular species and architectures, this paper reviews the state-of-the-art in synthesis and properties of multilayer hybrid nanocomposites based on two commercially available functional nanomaterials - the clay nanosheets and carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Each of these two building blocks possesses unique structural and physicochemical properties thus enabling preparation of variety of functional composites. Furthermore, they are only a few nanomaterials that allow evaluation of the efficiency of stress transfer in composites since the mechanical parameters of individual nanotubes and individual clay sheets are available. The properties and functionalities of clays- and CNT-based multilayered structures are discussed. In addition, some future challenges are discussed.
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