Efficient use of nanomaterials in composite structure is the key to achieve higher mechanical properties while keeping the manufacturing process intact and the cost as low as possible. Our focus is on North America CFRP Market which is currently at USD $4B with CAGR of 7.7%. At MITS, we are consistently offering 20% weight reduction in composite structures leading to millions of dollars of savings in both recurring and nonrecurring costs. This would open up opportunities in the current carbon fiber PrePreg market which our major competitor has failed to serve.
The BVID results reveals more than 40% improvement in damage tolerance by employing electrospun nanofibers between the prepreg layers. There is more than 20% increase in impact energy absorption of 35 J threshold .
The failure resistance are increased up to 20 times at the 90% of the maximum baseline load for the 2 wt% nanoscaffold reinforced samples due to CNT penetration and the improvement in the fiber-resin interface.
The electrical conductivity of the prepreg composites also increases by more than 10% by embedding 2 wt% electrospun nanofiber mats in between composite structures which could potentially reduce the damage cause by lightening in aerospace.
Addition of the electrospun CNT nanoscaffolds also contributes more than 20% increase in EMI shielding of the composites. A SET close to 30 dB at X-band frequency considers as an adequate level of shielding in many applications such as those in defense.
Manufacturing of Submicron CNT-Epoxy Nanocomposite Filaments
The removal of sacrificial polymer post electrospinning with minimal negative influence on the resin properties has been a major challenge making it close to impossible to achieve. At MIT Solutions, a structural epoxy resin which is widely used in aerospace industry has been carefully mixed with carbon nanotube reinforcements via a novel mixing strategy. All variables such as solution parameters (i.e., polymer concentration, viscosity, conductivity, and surface tension), the processing parameters (i.e., applied voltage, distance between the capillary tip and collector, flow rate of the polymer solution), and the ambient parameters (i.e., temperature and humidity) have been carefully considered for optimizing the nanofiber morphology.
Enhancement of the Shear Strength of CFRP by Interlaminar Incorporation of Nanofibers
A novel patented approach is utilized to increase the spinnability of the Epoxy resin, enabling production of a novel CNT nanofiber. The prime objective of manufacturing epoxy nanocomposite nanofibers is for structural applications due to their exceptional mechanical and thermal properties. It is also shown that due to the resulted dispersed and aligned carbon nanotubes (CNTs), these hybrid fibril composites will have huge surface area as well as a surface compatibility to be used with epoxy matrices in advanced composite applications. Having no presence of co-polymers or solvent residues in the final electrospun fibers ensures achieving the expected advancement in mechanical properties.
Enhancement of Filters for COVID-19 via Nano-Scaffolding
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 CuONP 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 the 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.
Trapping and Disabling Viral Particles
Filter layers made of CuONPs deposited on nanoscaffolds are expected to have more than 99.99% efficiency in trapping and disabling viruses such as coronavirus. Their high surface area per unit volume enhances capture efficiency of virus, and integrated CuONPs can significantly shorten viral viability.
Process schematic for making (a,b) nylon nanoscaffolds through electrospinning and, (c) SEM of CuONPs electrospraying. Scale bar represents 100 nm.
Nylon nanoscaffold electrodeposited with CuONPs to create a filter with enhanced efficacy in capturing and disabling COVID-19 virus.
The manufacturing process for nylon nano scaffolds with CuONPs coatings, to be used in reusable facial masks/filters. Figure 3 is a schematic of our novel nanoscaffold enhanced filter layer coating system and associated roll-roll manufacturing approach. Here, nanoscaffolds of electrospun nylon with associated electrosprayed CuONPs can be applied onto any fabric of interest to enhance virus protection and create reusable facial masks/filters suitable for protection against COVID-19 and other viruses by using two types of nozzles, one electrospinning polymers into nanofibers and the other electrospraying a uniform field of CuONPs.