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e-NanoPrint is funded by the Research Promotion Foundation of the Republic of Cyprus under the “ENTERPIRSES” Grant, Call 0618, Program “RESEARCH IN ENTERPRISES” of RESTART 2016-2020. The project was launched in May 15th, 2019 and is expected to be completed by April 30th, 2021.

Although carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites present sufficient in-plane electrical conductivity levels comparable to metals, their electrical conductivity in z-axis (through thickness) is non-existent. There are several efforts within the international literature to increase through thickness conductivity, however without dramatic improvements in the multilayer composite level. Due to the lack of this particular property, CFRP composites are eliminated from a variety of applications that through thickness electrical conductivity is desired, such as radio frequency (RF) applications, electronic boxes and avionics casing, material damage sensing, sensitive robotics parts, space RF applications, military applications, in-service structural evaluation and other.

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Through this project AmaDema aims to develop and produce of a novel, highly conductive in the z-axis carbon fibre (CF) textile material, by printing electrically conductive polymer droplet patterns on both sides of the textile.

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Method

To achieve the desired increase in through thickness electrical conductivity, AmaDema is planning to utilise existing expertise with screen-printing processing from the organic electronics industry. Screen-printing is able to use “inks” (polymer solutions) doped with either carbon nanotubes or copper nanowires, or other conductive nanoparticles, to create patterns of conductive material on the surface of the CF textiles. By introducing screen-printing in our process, we can manipulate nano-reinforcement content, pattern geometries and “ink” chemistry and eventually achieve the desired specifications requested from our customers for through thickness electrical conductivity. The process is shown schematically in the Figure below:

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The electrically conductive polymer droplet patterns excessively enhance textile and eventually CF composite through thickness electrical conductivity. e-NanoPrint presents the industrial development of an innovative textile-material, with revolutionary through thickness electrical conductivity, in levels similar to in-plane carbon fabric electrical conductivity. e-NanoPrint proposed textile comprises macrofibre-microdroplet-nanoparticle fractal networks imitating the prototypical architecture of natural structures.

e-NanoPrint is coordinated by AmaDema in partnership with the Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics of Cyprus University of Technology (CUT).

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Project News

2019

May 15th: Project Launch

May 15th : Initiation of Dissemination Strategy and Implementation

May 20th  Kick off Meeting at AmaDema

June 15th: Initiation of Technology Mapping and Market Analysis

July 15th: Consortium Meeting 2 at AmaDema

July 30th: Mechanical Design of Screen Printing Apparatus

Aug 31st: Tailor-made Screen Printing Apparatus Setup