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Proceedings Paper

Lightweight carbon nanotube-based structural-energy storage devices for micro unmanned systems
Author(s): Monica Rivera; Daniel P. Cole; Myung Gwan Hahm; Arava L. M. Reddy; Robert Vajtai; Pulickel M. Ajayan; Shashi P. Karna; Mark L. Bundy
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Paper Abstract

There is a strong need for small, lightweight energy storage devices that can satisfy the ever increasing power and energy demands of micro unmanned systems. Currently, most commercial and developmental micro unmanned systems utilize commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) lithium polymer batteries for their energy storage needs. While COTS lithium polymer batteries are the industry norm, the weight of these batteries can account for up to 60% of the overall system mass and the capacity of these batteries can limit mission durations to the order of only a few minutes. One method to increase vehicle endurance without adding mass or sacrificing payload capabilities is to incorporate multiple system functions into a single material or structure. For example, the body or chassis of a micro vehicle could be replaced with a multifunctional material that would serve as both the vehicle structure and the on-board energy storage device. In this paper we present recent progress towards the development of carbon nanotube (CNT)-based structural-energy storage devices for micro unmanned systems. Randomly oriented and vertically aligned CNT-polymer composite electrodes with varying degrees of flexibility are used as the primary building blocks for lightweight structural-supercapacitors. For the purpose of this study, the mechanical properties of the CNT-based electrodes and the charge-discharge behavior of the supercapacitor devices are examined. Because incorporating multifunctionality into a single component often degrades the properties or performance of individual structures, the performance and property tradeoffs of the CNT-based structural-energy storage devices will also be discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 May 2012
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 8377, Energy Harvesting and Storage: Materials, Devices, and Applications III, 837706 (25 May 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.919534
Show Author Affiliations
Monica Rivera, Motile Robotics, Inc. (United States)
Daniel P. Cole, Motile Robotics, Inc. (United States)
Myung Gwan Hahm, Rice Univ. (United States)
Arava L. M. Reddy, Rice Univ. (United States)
Robert Vajtai, Rice Univ. (United States)
Pulickel M. Ajayan, Rice Univ. (United States)
Shashi P. Karna, U.S. Army Research Lab. (United States)
Mark L. Bundy, U.S. Army Research Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8377:
Energy Harvesting and Storage: Materials, Devices, and Applications III
Nibir K. Dhar; Priyalal S. Wijewarnasuriya; Achyut K. Dutta, Editor(s)

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