Thermochromic Polymer Film Sensors for Detection of Incipient Thermal Damage in Carbon Fiber–Epoxy Composites

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Author(s)

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Article number1362
Journal / PublicationSensors (Switzerland)
Volume18
Issue number5
Online published27 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes

Link(s)

Abstract

Carbon fiber-epoxy composites have become prevalent in the aerospace industry where mechanical properties and light weight are at a premium. The significant non-destructive evaluation challenges of composites require new solutions, especially in detecting early-stage, or incipient, thermal damage. The initial stages of thermal damage are chemical rather than physical, and can cause significant reduction in mechanical properties well before physical damage becomes detectable in ultrasonic testing. Thermochromic fluorescent probe molecules have the potential to sense incipient thermal damage more accurately than traditional inspection methods. We have designed a molecule which transitions from a colorless, non-fluorescent state to a colorful, highly fluorescent state when exposed to temperature-time combinations that can cause damage in composites. Moreover, this molecule can be dispersed in a polymer film and attached to composite parts as a removable sensor. This work presents an evaluation of the sensor performance of this thermochromic film in comparison to ultrasonic C-scan as a method to detect incipient thermal damage in one of the most widely used carbon fiber-epoxy composite systems. Composite samples exposed to varying thermal exposures were used to evaluate the fluorescent thermal sensor films, and the results are compared to the results of ultrasonic imaging and short-beam shear tests for interlaminar shear strength.

Research Area(s)

  • Epoxy-matrix composites, Fluorescence, Thermal damage detection, Thermochromism

Citation Format(s)

Thermochromic Polymer Film Sensors for Detection of Incipient Thermal Damage in Carbon Fiber–Epoxy Composites. / Toivola, Ryan; Jang, Sei-Hum; Baker, Shawn et al.
In: Sensors (Switzerland), Vol. 18, No. 5, 1362, 05.2018.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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