Macroscopic Nanotube Fabrication Process Control

Macroscopic Nanotube Fabrication Process Control (LAR-TOPS-133)
Magnetic and Raman based Method for Macroscopic Process Control during Fabrication of Carbon Nanotube based Structures
NASA's Langley Research Center has developed an innovative magnetic and Raman based method for macroscopic process control during fabrication of carbon nanotube based structures. The development of super-strong lightweight materials based upon carbon nanotubes promises new materials with the strength of current carbon composite materials, but at substantially less weight. The development of these new materials is dependent upon nanotube quality, alignment, and load transfer between individual nanotubes in the structure. However, current fabrication process controls are limited to time consuming microscopy testing at intermittent stages during processing. NASAs innovative method can be applied during nanotube structure fabrication to obtain real-time feedback on critical processing parameters during fabrication. Moreover, the method is compatible with in-line fabrication processes.

The Technology
A combination of magnetic and optical methods are applied to characterize the residual catalyst content, nanotube alignment and load transfer between individual nanotubes during the fabrication process. The techniques used in this method, which have been proven at the micro level, are applied so that scanning and mapping occurs at the macro level. These methods have been successfully used for nondestructive evaluation of large-format carbon nanotube-based structures, primarily yarns as well as sheets from several inches square to as large as 4ft. by 8ft.
Carbon nanotube structure Apparatus for in-situ Raman measurements of
Materials. Image credit:  NASA
  • Integration of known methods to increase manufacturing quality and yield by non-destructive characterization of key technical characteristics of large-scale carbon nanotube structural materials during or shortly after the fabrication process
  • New methodology promises to enable high quality, high yield of carbon nanotube-based structural materials for mission critical applications, with an approximately 30% weight reduction over carbon composite materials in applications such as pressure vessels

  • Carbon Fabrication Industry
Technology Details

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