Project Incharge: 
Shanthanu Bhowmick
Co-Project Incharge: 
Meera Balachandran
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 to Saturday, September 30, 2017
School of Engineering
Funding Agency: 

Carbon fibre and silicate based polymeric nanocomposites are widely used in the aerospace industry  and these materials are almost entirely based on epoxy resin or polyolefin systems. They have a service temperature no more than 120 0C  and are restricted to aviation application. For the launch vehicles and spacecraft structures, the materials should resist high temperatures of combustion gases, thermal cycling, ultra high vacuum and hazardous chemical and radiation environments. Based on these considerations, attention will be given in the proposed work to develop a new kind of polymeric nanocomposite, i.e., polybenzimidazole (PBI) resin (thermal stability -250 0C to +500 0C) based modified Multi Walled Carbon Nanotubes (MWNT’s) composite and a comparative studies will be made with Polyether Imide (PEI) based nano composite. The thermal stability and radiation resistance of PBI are significantly high in comparison to any polymer. In search of long time and efficient service performance in the context of future generation space crafts at Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO), work of particular relevance to this project has been to developing multi walled carbon nanotube (MWNT) based space durable polymeric nanocomposite for structural application of spacecraft. It is well established that spacecraft is subject to intense space radiation at LEO and GEO. Therefore, selection of polymers at LEO and GEO or long duration mission is a major issue. For the first phase of the proposal the work has been designed to improve mechanical strength of space durable polymeric nanocomposites and in the next phase of the proposal  the work will be designed to examine their stability when subject to space environments, especially under intense space radiation. Various CNT- PBI and CNT-PEI compositions will be investigated.  The final phase of the proposal will be designed to examine their stability when subject to space environments especially under intense space radiation. Therefore, challenges will be taken for the retention of composites strength especially when subjected to intense high-energy radiation. Detailed investigation will focus on modification of the surface of carbon nanotube by low pressure plasma using nitrogen as process gas to incorporate polar functional groups on the surface of CNT, development of polybenzimidazole (PBI)and Polyether Imide (PEI)nanocomposites [PNC] by solution blending or powder sintering, and characterization of PNCs for various properties – Morphology [XRD, SEM, TEM, AFM studies], Mechanical properties,Thermal properties and ageing / stability behavior in radiation environment etc. Based on the study and property  models developed, the product formulation would be optimized for desirable properties