High Toughness Ceramics Containing Carbon Nanotube Reinforcement
Agency / Branch:
DOD / ARMY
A significant limitation of currently produced ceramic armor is its brittleness, often resulting in premature fracture. Recent research has focused on the addition of carbon nanotube reinforcements, whose toughening capabilities and energy absorbingcharacteristics have been demonstrated. MER is the leading producer of nanotubes, and has developed dispersion and processing techniques for incorporation into polymers and ceramic matrices. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) has also accomplishedthe same for polymers and alumina ceramic matrices. It is proposed that MER investigate nanotube-reinforced silicon carbide and boron carbide, while RPI as a subcontractor will investigate nanotube-reinforced alumina. MER?s and RPI?s prior research willbe instrumental in being able to quickly fabricate composites for extensive testing including fracture toughness, strength, hardness, and ballistic performance. This will result in the generation of a database relating nanotube microstructuralcharacteristics and content to the final composite properties. In the Phase I option, composites with the best combination of properties will be tested in side-by-side testing with their monolithic counterpart to fully determine the effect of thenanotubes. Demonstration of reproducibility of fabrication with equal or superior ballistic performance and an improvement in mechanical properties would pave the way for more extensive evaluation and ultimately commercialization. Ceramic composites withimproved mechanical properties would be enabling for a variety of applications including body armor, engine components, nozzles, kiln furniture, and essentially all applications where alumina, boron carbide, and silicon carbide materials are currentlyemployed.
Small Business Information at Submission:
MATERIALS & ELECTROCHEMICAL RESEARCH (ME
7960 S. Kolb Rd. Tucson, AZ 85706
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