In this paper, carbon nanofibers (CNFs) with high aspect ratio were dispersed into epoxy matrix via mechanical stirring and ultrasonic treatment to fabricate self-sensing CNFs/epoxy composites. The mechanical, electrical and piezoresistive properties of the nanocomposites filled with different contents of CNFs were investigated. Based on the tunneling conduction and percolation conduction theories, the mechanisms of piezoresistive property of the nanocomposites were also explored. The experimental results show that adding CNFs can effectively enhance the compressive strengths and elastic moduli of the composites. The percolation threshold of the CNFs/epoxy composites is 0.186 vol% according to the modified General Effective Media Equation. Moreover, the stable and sensitive piezoresistive response of CNFs/epoxy composites was observed under monotonic and cyclic loadings. It can be demonstrated that adding CNFs into epoxy-based composites provides an innovative means of self-sensing, and the high sensitivity and stable piezoresistivity endow the CNFs/epoxy composites with considerable potentials as efficient compressive strain sensors for structural health monitoring of civil infrastructures.
Wang, Yanlei; Wang, Yongshuai; Wan, Baolin; Han, Baoguo; Cai, Gaochuang; and Li, Zhizheng, "Properties and Mechanisms of Self-Sensing Carbon Nanofibers/Epoxy Composites for Structural Health Monitoring" (2018). Civil and Environmental Engineering Faculty Research and Publications. 218.
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