The potential of carbon nanotubes (CNT) as multifunctional filler in poly(epoxy)-based structural composites has been investigated. In a first step the reinforcement effect of CNT has been studied by tensile and three points bending tests, which evidenced significant improvements of stress and strain at break (respectively +17% and +30% for tensile tests on unidirectional carbon fibre-epoxy composites). Moreover, fracture experiments have also revealed a positive effect of CNT on the toughness (G1c
) of carbon fibres-epoxy composites (+105% of improvement at the initial stage). In a second step, the health monitoring capability quantum resistive strain sensors (sQRS) made of CNT filled epoxy nanocomposite, incorporated in the core of glass fibres-epoxy composites has been studied. It was shown that during cyclic tensile tests, following the evolution of the relative resistance amplitude (Ar
) of sQRS with strain gives a pertinent information on non-reversible phenomena such as plastic deformation and cracks’ development within the composite. In particular, the evolution of the sQRS sensitivity (gauge factor GF) under and over the elastic limit, allows to track damage accumulation throughout the composite. These results suggest a possible use of sQRS for the structural health monitoring (SHM) of composites in fields such as boating, wind energy, aeronautics and automotive.
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