Funding Organization: Marie Curie Action-CIG, 7th Framework Programme
Region: Europe
Project Period: 2013 – 2017
Principal Investigator: Dr. Roberto Guzmán de Villoria

Fiber-reinforced polymers (FRP’s), stronger per unit of weight than steel or aluminium, are highly demanded for high-performance applications. The use of FRP’s in aerospace structures can lead to a significant reduction of maintenance costs, carbon imprint by fuel consumptions, COx and NOx emissions, etc. This is the reason why the last civil Airbus aircraft contains up to 52% in weight of composite materials and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner claims to be the first aircraft with a fully composite fuselage. However, composites materials presents several drawbacks that need to be overcome to fully take advantage of their excellent mechanical properties. From a mechanical perspective, aerospace composites are made of carbon fiber “plies” which are held together by a polymer. This polymer can crack easily, which results in the delamination of the plies and the failure of the structure if it is not detected on time. It is also required for aerospace materials to be protected from common environmental occurrences, such as lightning strikes, electromagnetic interferences, electrostatic discharge, etc. Various methods are used to address these concerns, such as the use of metallic meshes or foils. However, these meshes/screens are difficult to handle for both production and repairs, and increase significantly the overall weight of the aircraft. NFRP project aims at developing a novel nano-architecture to enhance the mechanical and electrical properties of the composite in the through-the-thickness direction. This nano-architecture will also act as a sensing system, enabling damage detection and localization by resistive-heating based non-destructive evaluation. In summary, the nano-engineered composite proposed here is an intrinsically multifunctional material, with expected over the state-of-the-art mechanical and multifunctional properties.

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