This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Synthesis of Multi-dimensional Organic Nano-conductors for the Enhancement of Thermal, Electrical, and Mechanical Properties of Composites




Smith, James, II

Type of Degree



Polymer and Fiber Engineering


For years, composite materials have attracted significant attention toward the improvement of their mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties. In more recent studies, carbon based fillers, such as carbon fibers, have received a large amount of interest because of their strong mechanical and thermal properties. Researchers have begun using nano-sized fillers due to the large surface areas and high aspect ratios. One of the widely used fillers is carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Typically synthesized by the Chemical Vapor Deposition method, the rate of production tends to be slower and more expensive than our recently developed microwave-assisted synthesis, using conducting polymer and metallocene as precursors. This Master’s thesis suggests the synthesis of inexpensive, multi-dimensional nano-conductors through microwave assisted carbonization using two different carbon based substrates, milled carbon fiber and carbon fiber fabric. These one dimensional substrates were subjected to the introduction of metallocene catalysts and microwave irradiation to synthesize carbon nanostructures on the surface of the substrates to ultimately produce a three dimensional filler that could enhance an epoxy composite mechanically, thermally, and electrically. The synthesized fillers were characterized specifically for their surface properties using Scanning Electron Microscopy, thermally using Thermogravimetric Analysis and electrically using two and four probe electrical conductivity measurements. Once the best overall filler was chosen, based on these results, the synthesized material was incorporated into an epoxy composite and further characterization was completed to determine the fillers effects on the composite material.