Graduate Research and Discovery Symposium (GRADS)

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2015


Boeing’s 787 Dream Liner, GE’s wind turbine blades, and Ferrari’s F1 chassis demonstrate the accomplishments of designed directionality in carbon fiber/epoxy composites. The aerospace, energy and transportation industries demand composite material with enhanced multifunctional properties including ultimate strength and toughness. Despite sizeable improvements, composite utilization is limited by the fiber’s low surface-area-to-volume ratio (specific surface). Orientation in man-made composites has been the key to effective strengthening of materials under mechanical load and compensating for intrinsic limitations of the current technology. Nanocomposites can drive performance to new heights by increasing the fiber to matrix interaction. Thus far, the embedding of nanomaterials into composites has been achieved, but directional arrangement has proved to be a challenging task. Even with advances in insitu, shear, and stress orientation, these methods are both difficult to control and unreliable, hampering nanocomposite improvements. Therefore, the implementation of nanomaterials with a natural ability to orient along a magnetic field will create a controlled system with precisely designed morphology. To this end, the proposed project has develop an effective approach for the design of magnetically active nanowhiskers to form 2D aligned structures in a polymer matrix, creating novel nanocomposites with enhanced mechanical properties.