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Investigation of electrically conductive adhesives for Aerospace applications

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Gokul Ganesh Murali
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This investigation highlights rationale of electrically conductive nano adhesives for its essential application for Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) Shielding in satellites and Lightning Strike Protection in aircrafts. Carbon Nano Fibres (CNF) were functionalized by electroless process using Tollen's reagent and by Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition (PECVD) process by depositing silver on CNF. Different weight percentage of CNF and silver coated CNF were reinforced into the epoxy resin hardener system. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) micrographs clearly show the presence of CNF in the epoxy matrix, thus giving enough evidence to show that dispersion is uniform. Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) studies reveal that there is uniform deposition of silver on CNF resulting in significant improvement in interfacial adhesion with epoxy matrix. There is a considerable increase in thermal stability of the conductive nano adhesive demonstrated by Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) and Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA). Four probe conductivity meters clearly shows a substantial increase in the electrical conductivity of silver coated CNF-epoxy composite compared to non-coated CNF-epoxy composite. Tensile test results clearly show that there is a significant increase in the tensile strength of silver coated CNF-composites compared to non-coated CNF-epoxy composites. Consequently, this technology is highly desirable for satellites and EMI Shielding and will open a new dimension in space research.