Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2010

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Zhupanska, Olesya I.

First Committee Member

Ratner, Albert

Second Committee Member

Lu, Jia


Electrical and thermal behavior of the carbon fiber polymer matrix composites subjected to time-varying and steady electric currents is studied. A fully automated experimental setup for real time measurements of the electric current, resistance, voltage, and temperature in carbon fiber polymer matrix composites has been developed. A series of electrical characterization tests on IM7/977-3 unidirectional and symmetric cross-ply composite laminates have been performed and the effects of electric current magnitude and duration, electrical resistance, and associated thermal effects have been investigated. It is determined that voltage-current relationship stays ohmic for up to 50 A steady currents, electrical resistance exhibits time-dependent behavior. It is also found that application of an electric current leads to a significant temperature rise in the composites that is a result of the intense Joule heat produced in the electrically conductive carbon fibers as well as in the composite-electrode contact.


Carbon Fiber, Electrical Behavior of Composites, Thermal Behavior of Composites


xiv, 159 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 156-159).


Copyright 2010 Phillip Deierling