Date Approved

6-28-2018

Embargo Period

6-29-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MS Mechanical Engineering

Department

Mechanical Engineering

College

Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering

First Advisor

Xue, Wei

Second Advisor

Krchnavek, Robert

Third Advisor

Haas, Francis

Subject(s)

Nanocomposites (Materials); Polymers

Disciplines

Materials Science and Engineering

Abstract

Polymer nanocomposites represent an area of materials that can yield useful properties not achievable in bulk materials. Not only can they have such properties but also they can be relatively easy to generate. With dwindling fossil fuels there is an increased need for both new methods to harvest energy and to transport the captured energy more effectively. Two separate nanocomposite materials are created to support this work with dramatically different properties, both to aid in energy efficiency. The first is an energy harvesting foam to fully utilize the structural deformability of such a material. A dissolvable sugar scaffold is combined with ex-situ nanocomposite generation to generate an energy harvesting piezoelectric foam made from PDMS-ZnO-CNT. The second material is a cryogenic dielectric to potentially expand the capability of superconducting cables. An in-situ sol-gel method and a standard ex-situ method are both explored to create polyimide-SiO2 dielectrics. The materials are tested with a variety of methods to characterize their structural, mechanical, and electrical properties. The piezoelectric foams yield a maximum electrical voltage of 0.30 V with a Young's modulus of 0.54 MPa and an ultimate tensile strength of 0.27 MPa. The dielectric material successfully withstands 34 kV/mm, and has a maximum tensile strength of 24.42 MPa at room temperature.

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