Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Ballistic Fibers for Improved Ballistic Resistance
Silicon carbide (SiC) has importance in the fields of electronics, high-temperature structural composites, and polishing and grinding media. Present methods to produce SiC include decomposition of polymer polymethylsilyne under an inert atmosphere; chemical vapor deposition, for the production of SiC films; graphite furnaces, for bulk production of SiC polycrystalline powder silica; sublimation, for SiC crystal formation; and the infiltration of carbon fibers with liquid SiC, for micro-SiC fibers. Unfortunately, these approaches result in defects due, in part, to the nature of the size of the fibers, thus weakening the mechanical properties of the SiC products.
APL researchers have invented a new method of synthesizing SiC sheets. This exciting method results in a unique material with long-range, three-dimensional, interconnected, randomly oriented nano-SiC fibers.
The method produces sheets of nano-SiC from bacterial cellulose. Bacterial cellulose chains self-assemble into a hierarchically structured nanoribbon, which is rectangular and approximately 10 nm „e 50 nm in dimension. Nanoribbons then naturally self-assemble into thicker, water-bearing pellicles. These pellicles are then uniquely processed by APL researchers into useful nanostructured material that retains the morphology (size, shape, surface area, and connectivity) of the original nanoribbons. Specifically, APL¡¦s unique process includes washing, silicate solution treatment, special drying procedures, and heating steps.
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