Project Description

3D Printing and Nanotechnology for Electromagnetic Shielding of CFRP Structures


DURATION: 2021-2023


3DforCOMP aims at developing a technology for increasing the through the thickness electrical conductivity of Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymers (CFRP) up to values required by the aerospace, automotive, defence and electronic industries for electromagnetic shielding. The proposed solution consists of using the Fused Filaments Fabrication (FFF) 3D printing process to print thermoplastic nanocomposites containing carbon nanotubes onto the surface of carbon fabrics. Such an approach will allow to introduce in a safe way high volumes of carbon nanotubes (up to 15wt%) into the CFRP structure, which is impossible using currently available technologies. During the CFRP manufacturing process, the printed nanocomposites will be melted and mixed with the epoxy resin resulting in an increase of not only electrical but also mechanical properties. A new type of the electrically conductive and flexible filaments based on hot melt adhesives and carbon nanotubes will be tested using an industrial 3D printer in SINTEF, Norway. At each step of the process, the electrical conductivity will be analysed and supported by microscopic investigations of the carbon nanotubes’ dispersion. This will allow for understanding the influence of process conditions on the electrical properties and on the electromagnetic shielding effectiveness. The developed solution will be tested in natural conditions on an airplane wing prototype at the end of the project.


Project coordinator. The TECHNOLOGY PARTNERS research team will be responsible for developing the technology of printing conductive nanocomposites based on hot melt adhesives and carbon nanotubes onto the surface of carbon fabrics. Various combinations of adhesives and fabric will be tested in order to select the system providing the best adhesion. The dependence between the polymer viscosity, the nanotube dispersion achieved, electrical conductivity and suitability for FDM will be studied. The parameters of 3D printing, nanocomposites for carbon fabrics and the correlation between the structural parameters of fabrics and the adhesion of the printed shape will be selected. In order to confirm the correctness of the concept, carbon fabrics with conductive nanocomposites printed onto them will be used to manufacture carbon composites. The electrical and mechanical properties of the composites will be analysed in order to select the most promising materials. In the final phase of the Project, the composites will undergo EM screening tests and used the production of a demonstrator in the form of an airplane wing which will be tested in real conditions. The electrically conductive and flexible filaments developed within the Project will be tested using an industrial 3D printer in SINTEF, Norway, which will allow for their subsequent commercial implementation.