Electrical Conductivity Modeling and Validation in Unidirectional Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composites

P. Banerjee[1], J. L. Schmidt[1]
[1]Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA
Published in 2013

Carbon fiber (CF) reinforced polymer composites (CFRP) have begun to replace Al-Zn-Mg alloys in applications which require high strength-to-weight ratios. The anisotropy of CFRP composites is a result of melt crystallized extrusion techniques that impart an inherent directionality to the CFs and the associated material’s properties. Electrical conductivity was modeled across the entire CF loading range (from neat polymer to 100% volume fraction CF) using COMSOL Multiphysics®. A percolating model was used to simulate the higher loading values of CF, treating the polymer as an insulator and added a contact resistance between CF [5]. A non-percolating model was used to simulate the lower loading values of CF by treating the polymer as a semi-conducting material [4]. Modeling results validated the conductivity reported in experimental studies.