Design, fabrication and analysis of a piezoelectric nanocomposite paint

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Osho, Samuel
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The recent progress in technology has resulted in the maintenance of structures being carried out through Structural Health Monitoring (SHM). The primary aim of SHM is early detection and location of damage in structures. Despite the different techniques available in SHM, engineers opt for piezoelectric sensors in a bid to achieve their goals. In this research, a theoretical model that shows the feasibility of using a damage detection sensor capable of multipoint strain sensing is developed. The multi-point strain sensing coating applied to the top-surface layer of a delaminated cantilever beam detected the presence and location of delamination in the beam. The theoretical model serves as the basis to produce a piezoelectric nanocomposite paint with possible applications as dynamic strain sensors and/or piezoelectric transducers. The coating is in form of a low-cost paint, which is flexible and bonds strongly on a metallic surface via the solvent-casting method. The nanocomposite is produced by an ultrasonic mixture of varying percentages of Zinc oxide nanopowder water dispersion, Poly Vinyl Acetate glue (PVA) and Carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) images confirmed the linkages of zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles in the composite by CNTs. The optimum mixing ratio with the highest piezoelectricity is 78.1% ZnO, 19.5% PVA glue and 2.4% multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). Results of the characterization of the nanocomposite paint indicate that the mechanical and piezoelectric properties of the nano-composite paint reached a threshold point in the increment of CNTs to the paint before showing signs of decline.
Structural Health Monitoring, Piezoelectricity, Carbon nanotubes, Zinc Oxide, Damage Detection, Composites, Theoretical Modeling