Date of Award

May 2014

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biomedical and Chemical Engineering


Patrick T. Mather


Carbon Fiber, Composite, Epoxy, Shape Memory

Subject Categories



Shape memory polymers have a wide range of applications due to their ability to mechanically change shapes upon external stimulus, while their achievable composite counterparts prove even more versatile. An overview of literature on shape memory materials, fillers and composites was provided to pave a foundation for the materials used in the current study and their inherent benefits. This study details carbon nanofiber and composite fabrication and contrasts their material properties. In the first section, the morphology and surface chemistry of electrospun-poly(acrylonitrile)-based carbon nanofiber webs were tailored through various fabrication methods and impregnated with a shape memory epoxy. The morphologies, chemical compositions, thermal stabilities and electrical resistivities of the carbon nanofibers and composites were then characterized. In the second section, an overview of thermal, mechanical and shape memory characterization techniques for shape memory polymers and their composites was provided. Thermal and mechanical properties in addition to the kinetic and dynamic shape memory performances of neat epoxy and carbon nanofiber/epoxy composites were characterized. The various carbon nanofiber web modifications proved to have notable influence on their respective composite performances. The results from these two sections lead to an enhanced understanding of these carbon nanofiber reinforced shape memory epoxy composites and provided insight for future studies to tune these composites at will.


Open Access

Included in

Engineering Commons