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Plasma electrolytic polishing of metalized carbon fibers

1 BECKMANN-INSTITUT für Technologieentwicklung e. V., Turleyring 15, 09376 Oelsnitz/ Erzgebirge, Germany
2 Technische Universität Chemnitz, Professur für Werkstoff- und Oberflächentechnik, 09107 Chemnitz, Germany

Topical Section: Responsive, Active and Smart materials

Efficient lightweight structures require intelligent materials that meet versatile functions. Especially, carbon-fiber-reinforced polymers (CFRPs) are gaining relevance. Their increasing use aims at reducing energy consumption in many applications. CFRPs are generally very light in weight, while at the same time being extremely stiff and strong (specific strength: CFRPs: 1.3 Nm kg–1, steel: 0.27 Nm kg–1; specific stiffness: CFRPs: 100 Nm kg–1, steel: 25 Nm kg–1). To increase performance and especially functionality of CFRPs, the integration of microelectronic components into CFRP parts is aspired. The functionalization by sensors, actuators and electronics can enable a high lightweight factor and a new level of failure-safety. The integration of microelectronic components for this purpose requires a working procedure to provide electrical contacts for a reliable connection to energy supply and data interfaces. To overcome this challenge, metalized carbon fibers are used. Metalized fibers are, similar to the usual reinforcing fibers, able to be soldered and therefore easy to incorporate into CFRPs. Unfortunately, metalized fibers have to be pre-treated by flux-agents. Until now, there is no flux which is suitable for mass production without destroying the polymer of the CFRP. The process of plasma electrolytic polishing (PeP) could be an option, but is so far not available for copper. Thus, in this study, plasma electrolytic polishing is transferred to copper and its alloys. To achieve this, electrolytic parameters as well as the electrical setup are adapted. It can be observed that the gloss and roughness can be adjusted by means of this procedure. Finally, plasma electrolytic polishing is used to treat thin copper layers on carbon fibers.
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Copyright Info: © 2016, Falko Böttger-Hiller, et al., licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

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