NanoScaffold –Enhanced (NSE) Composites 

Cheaper, Lighter but Stronger Composites

Overview

The work by MIT Solutions exhibits a practical method to enhance the interlaminar shear strength by depositing a thin layer of electrospun carbon nanotube (CNT) reinforced epoxy fibers in between the pre-impregnated composite. It can be more efficient in increasing its mechanical strength as it provides a large volume to surface ratio with porosity and forms interlayer bonding. This helps achieving the interfacial toughening effect and increase short beam shear strength by over 20%. The process is done with limited usage of carbon nanotubes compared to other commercially available products. The CNT dispersion and formation of nanofibers through electrospinning method is scalable to the industrial commercial level. Thus, the goal of this proposal is to develop fabrication methods and machinery to make large scale fabrication of reinforced pre-impregnated carbon fiber sheets and make lighter composite structures for aerospace, automotive, wind energy and sporting goods.

Well dispersed CNT in
epoxy matrix solution

NSE Enhanced Composite Prepreg Roll

Compatible Roll-to-Roll Carbon fiber prepreg Process

Copper Oxide Enhanced Mask/Filters for COVID-19

Overview

Multiscale Integrated Technology Solutions LLC (MITS) is one of the limited number of companies capable of manufacturing electrospun nylon nanoscaffold filters with an adjustable pore size as small as 50 nm, with excellent morphology free from defects, and coupled with simultaneous electrospraying of CuONPs. Incorporation of ultra-fine CuONP-enhanced nanoscaffold layers deposited on a thin melt-blown fabric is expected to result in notable improvements in virus filtration (over 99.99% compared to that of 95% in N95 masks), as well as improved airflow. These filter layers produced in single or multiple layers of electrospun nanofibers on a fabric substrate will have higher grade efficiency which can be substantiated using an aerosolization filter tester to simulate the known COVID-19 virus particle size range (60 to 140 nm). Small-diameter nanofibers, 50-100 nm, will lead to higher mechanical capture by diffusion and interception. Our use of multilayer scaffolds will reduce the pressure drop across the membrane significantly as a result of introducing three-dimensional nanopores in contrast to typical two-dimensional micropores, which dominate construction of typical layered fiber masks.

 

The process that creates the nylon/CuONP nanoscaffold layers adds a single manufacturing step that can be used by all current users of filter rolls with no change in their mask/filter fabrication processes. In addition to antiviral capability, as a result of the improved filtration efficiency, masks/filters can be manufactured with thinner and lighter fabric layers while exceeding existing airflow criteria and improving comfort.

Schematic of the multi-nozzle nanoscaffold filter enhancement system through electrospinning of nylon nanofibers with electrospraying of functionalized CuONPs.

Enhancement of the mask/filter via a compatible roll-roll process. (a,b) Stations for unrolling the filter rolls before electrospinning/electrospraying, followed by a rolling station after electrospinning/ electrospraying are incorporated, (c) Optimization and fabrication of a multi-nozzle vertical electrospinning/electrospraying system for fabrication of 50-100 nm nylon/CuONP nanoscaffolds.

NSE Enhanced nylon and CuONP filter products

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317-764-6770