Multifunctional Structural-energy Storage Nanocomposites for Ultra Lightweight Micro Autonomous Vehicles (Final Report)

Report No. ARL-TR-6366
Authors: Mark L. Bundy, Daniel P. Cole, Monica Rivera, and Shashi Karna
Date/Pages: February 2013; 36 pages
Abstract: A key concern in the design of micro autonomous vehicles is an onboard energy supply that is able to satisfy system power requirements while also limiting the mass/volume burden to the platform. The conventional solution is to increase the energy density of the power supply, typically a commercial battery. Another approach is to replace single-function structural components with multifunctional structural energy storage materials to supplement the main power supply. Here we report on the use of flexible carbon nanotube (CNT)-based composites for multifunctional structural energy storage applications. Supercapacitors were fabricated from aligned and non-aligned CNT-based polymer composites and were subject to electrical and mechanical characterization. In addition, an electromechanical characterization technique was used to explore the multifunctional behavior of the solid-state flexible supercapacitors. Initial tests showed that the specific capacitance of the composite materials increased by approximately 10% as the structure was subject to a 2% mechanical strain. These preliminary results indicate that these multifunctional solid-state composites could potentially replace micro vehicle flexible structural components, supplement system power requirements, and ultimately increase platform endurance.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: February 1, 2013