Joshua A. Key

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Nicholas Herr, PhD


Recent advancements in fiber laser technology have increased interest in target material interactions and the development of thermal protection layers for tactical laser defense. A significant material of interest is carbon fiber reinforced polymers due to their increased use in aircraft construction. In this work, the thermal response of carbon fiber-carbon nanotube (CNT) hybrid composites exposed to average irradiances of 0.87-6.8 W/cm2 were observed using a FLIR sc6900 thermal camera. The camera had a pixel resolution of 640x512 which resulted in a spatial resolution of 0.394x0.383 mm/pixel for the front and 0.463x0.491 mm/pixel for the back. The hybrid samples that showed the highest absolute and relative reduction in heat penetration contained three CNT outer layers on the front and backside and one CNT center layer respectively. When compared to the 8-layer carbon fiber control sample, they demonstrated a backside peak temperature reduction of 120° C and 85° C respectively. This reduction in temperature appears to be due to the production of an insulating layer produced by the trapping of organic volatile gases in the CNT layers. The introduction of CNT layers to carbon fiber reinforced composites reduced heat penetration to deeper layers reducing subsequent thermal.

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