Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Andrew J. Lingenfelter, PhD


Significant development of carbon nanotubes has occurred since they were first studied in the 1990's. Attempts to capture the phenomenal molecular properties in practical applications are gaining ground as new methods of producing CNTs have been developed. This thesis sought to determine if the addition of commercially produced CNT sheets to thin carbon fiber panels improved the ballistic properties of the panel. The difference between 0 and 4 CNT sheets was studied. The hypothesis was that inte- grating CNT sheets into the laminate would increase the projectile energy absorbed by the panel and reduce the damage to the panel incurred by the impact. Damage to the panel was assessed through delamination area and EMI shielding degradation. Projectile energy absorption was measured through residual velocity measurement and ballistic limit modeling. A gas gun shooting half inch steel ball bearings simulated high-speed debris impact on the panel. This study found that the addition of one or two CNT sheets provided a marginal increase of up to 0.7 joules of projectile energy reduction by the panel. In general it was not found that the CNT sheets significantly contributed to the ability of the panel to stop a projectile at the quantities studied. It was found that with four CNT sheets in the panel, the EMI shielding after impact at 350 ft/s was improved by as much as 40 dB compared to the panel with no CNT sheets.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number