Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Robert Jones

Second Advisor

Dr. Constantine Tarawneh

Third Advisor

Dr. Karen Lozano


Carbon nanofiber (CNF) reinforced composites are exceptional materials that exhibit superior properties compared to conventional composites. This paper presents the development of a vapor grown carbon nanofiber (VGCNF) thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) composite by a melt mixing process. Dispersion and distribution of CNFs inside the TPU matrix were examined through scanning electron microscopy to determine homogeneity. The composite material underwent durometer, thermal gravimetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, heat transfer, hysteresis, dynamic modulus, creep, tensile, abrasion, and electrical conductivity testing to characterize its properties and predict behavior. The motivation for this research is to develop an elastomer pad that is an electrically conductive alternative to the elastomer pads currently used in railroad service. The material had to be a completely homogenous electrically conductive CNF composite that could withstand a harsh dynamically loaded environment. The current prototype material meets the mechanical and conductive requirements and is currently undergoing field-testing.


Copyright 2014 Daniel Thomas Basaldua. All Rights Reserved.

Granting Institution

University of Texas-Pan American