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Metalized Carbon Fibers

Date: Mon 5 Oct 2015, 11:00 - 12:00

Location: SEMS Seminar Room

Dr. Falko Boettger Hiller
Technische Universität Chemnitz

Metalized Carbon Fibers
Due to an increased use of carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) for the reduction of energy consumption in many applications, the condition monitoring of these lightweight structures is of increasing importance. [1] The integration of microelectronic components into CFRP structures allows the functionalization by sensors, actuators and electronics, and thus, the further improvement of the performance and functionality. [2] Therefore innovative interconnection and attachment technologies are required. Actual research activities consider with “smart” textile lightweight structures and systems for the integration of sensing and actuation functionalities, power supply and communication.
The embedding of active elements requires a reliable connection to the energy system and data interfaces. This connection is actually realized through structurally integrated wiring systems. [3] Investigations into the integration of these systems via functionalized coating layers and connection to the necessary sensors have to be improved.
In this work we describe an approach to reduce process steps (i.e. embroider additional conductive wires) and structural weak points (caused by an inhomogeneous composition of the fiber reinforced polymer, scheme 1).
Scheme 1: Power supply of sensors integrated into CFRP a) using metal wires, b) using metalized carbon fibers. (M = microelectronic component)
Up to this point, the carbon fibre rovings, which consist of around 3000 individual fibres, have been electroplated with zinc, tin, copper and nickel. Only electrolytes that contain no cyanide are used. The thickness of the metal coating can be adapted to meet individual requirements by adjusting the appropriate process parameters. [4]
Taking the example of copper, the throwing power of the electrolyte was determined using a Haring-Blum cell. This amounted to up to 75 %. The high throwing power also applies with the penetration depth of the electrolyte, reaching almost 100%. The coating process shows also a high current yield. Copper was chosen to provide a powerful and reliable connection to the sensor system, because copper is a solderable, ductile metal and the copper-coated carbon fibres even exceed the electrical conductivity of pure nickel (16.2 X 106 S/m).[4]

[1] T. K. Barlas, G. A. M. van Kuik, “Review of state of the art in smart rotor control research for wind turbines.” Progress in Aerospace Sciences vol. 46 (1), pp. 1–27, 2010.
[2] L. N. Cattafesta, M. Sheplak, “Actuators for Active Flow Control.” Annu. Rev. Fluid Mech. vol. 43 (1), pp. 247–272, 2011.
[3] R. Forke, D. Scheibner, K. Hiller, T. Gessner, W. Dötzel, J. Mehner, “Fabrication and characterization of a force coupled sensor–actuator system for adjustable resonant low frequency vibration detection.”Sensors and Actuators A: Physical vol. 145-146, pp. 245–256, 2008
[4] F. Böttger-Hiller, M. Nier, T. Lampke, ”Metal-Coated Carbon Fibres for Multifunctional CFRPs”, International Surface Technology vol. 1, pp. 44-45, 2014

Contact:Prof. Magdalena Titirici