This thesis introduces a new carbon fiber reinforced composite structure that uses polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) as the matrix material instead of the polymers that are typically used. The piezoelectric properties of PVDF enable the proposed composite material to act both as the structure and as an integrated sensor for in situ structural health monitoring. In this study, the fabrication process, the polarization process, and the mechanical and piezoelectric characterization of the composite structure are discussed. In addition, the DMAIC method was applied to the polarization process in order to identify the factors affecting the degree of polarization. As part of the improve phase, a 23 factorial design of experiment (DOE) was performed to investigate the optimal conditions of the identified factors for the polarization process. Lastly, the future market potential of the proposed composite structure is explored by applying strategic market analysis tools including SWOT analysis, Ansoff's matrix, and technology S-curve.
University of Minnesota Master of Science thesis. August 2014. Major: Engineering management. Advisor: Dr. Michael Greminger. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 66 pages, appendix A.
Applying the DMAIC method for developing a PVDF matrix composite for integrated structural load sensing.
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