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Buckypapers are thin films of nanostructured membranes made from carbon nanotubes (CNTs), which are amazingly strong nanomaterials that measure 1/50,000th the diameter of a human hair. Buckypapers have outstanding thermal, electrical and physical properties that can be used for numerous applications such as de-icing, lightning-strike protection, miniaturization of electrical connections, smart-materials, etc. Buckypaper is a relatively new material that still needs to be produced more efficiently in order to create bulk nanostructured composites with desirable dispersion and in-plane alignment nanotubes. The current batch-production method has its own associated limitations and problems, including overheating suspensions with small volumes, as well as spilling and improper sonication operation. Manufacturing buckypapers through an automated continuous process will significantly increase their quality, success rates, production rates and processing efficiency. More importantly, this type of process will provide the much-needed continuity of buckypapers for use in composite automation production and the enhancement of electrical conducting properties. This thesis developed a continuous suspension production process, examined effective filtering methods and discussed the integration of the two main processes to form a complete continuous and automated manufacturing process. The work also presented quality control methods and procedures developed specifically for continuous buckypaper using UV-vis spectroscopy techniques. This thesis concludes with the characterization of the resultant continuous buckypaper products to examine their nanostructures and properties. The success of developing the prototype of an automated continuous process provides critical techniques for further realizing industrial production of quality nanotube buckypapers for various applications.
A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
Florida State University
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