Electrical conductivity of anisotropic PMMA composite filaments with aligned carbon fibers – predicting the influence of measurement direction
In order to study the electrical conductivity of anisotropic PMMA/carbon fiber (CF) composites, cylindrical PMMA/CF filaments were extruded through a capillary rheometer, resulting in an induced CF orientation along the extrusion direction. The aspect ratios of the CFs in the filaments were accurately regulated using a two-step melt mixing process. By measuring the vertical and horizontal resistances of filaments where the outermost layer was successively peeled off, the anisotropic conductivities could be calculated. This was done using a novel analytical model where each cylindrical composite filament was defined as a structure consisting of three concentric cylinders with potentially different conductivities and CF orientations. The electrical conductivity increased with the degree of fiber orientation along the voltage direction and the effects of anisotropy and measurement direction were incorporated into the (isotropic) McLachlan equation. The required distance for electrical contact between the CFs was calculated to be 16 nm. Finite element (FEM) simulations were successfully utilized to confirm the data.