Fabrication and Testing of CFRP Composites With Embedded Piezoelectric Particles for Temperature Sensing and Energy Harvesting

Emilio Tarango Valles, University of Texas at El Paso


As a part of this world's continuous evolution and technological advancements, smart materials and functional composites have become an attractive topic. In many cases, these new functional composites are replacing the traditional engineering material due to their customizable mechanical properties. This thesis analyzes and demonstrates the signal response, sensing capabilities and structural properties from Carbon/Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastic Composites (CFRP) with embedded Lead Zirconate Titanate Particles (PZT). The added PZT particles function as actuators, giving the composites a functionality. The PZT quantity inside each composite was variated to study better and characterize the mechanical and electrical properties; the variations were of 0%, 5%, 10%, 15% and 20% of the total weight percentage. The functionality is then demonstrated by setting up custom pyroelectric and piezoelectric tests; the sensing capability is observed at the cost of some mechanical properties. The mechanical properties including strength, stiffness, toughness and density were obtained by applying the appropriate ASTM standards. The composites are fabricated using a modified autoclave molding procedure that adapts the vacuum bag method. The CFRP composite is composed of three woven glass fiber laminas sandwiched by three woven carbon fiber laminas on each side. The PZT wt.% is embedded onto the System 2000 resin that is used as the matrix. The thesis demonstrates that the CFRP composite with PZT powder gains a function at the cost of some mechanical properties. This obtained function categorizes the CFRP composites a functional material, also as the wt.% is increased a better sensing response is obtained but still at the cost of mechanical property decay. The functional composites created can be utilized in the fields of energy harvesting, temperature sensing, and structural health monitoring.

Subject Area

Energy|Materials science

Recommended Citation

Tarango Valles, Emilio, "Fabrication and Testing of CFRP Composites With Embedded Piezoelectric Particles for Temperature Sensing and Energy Harvesting" (2016). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10250845.