NECST Consortium

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SEM image of NECST logo
Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) image of necst logo fabricated from forests of carbon nanotubes

NECST logo

NECST Director: Professor Brian L. Wardle

NECST formally launched in early 2006 with the first full Members-only meeting in May of that year on the MIT campus. We are pleased to be partnered with Boeing, EADS/Airbus, Embraer, Lockheed Martin, Saab AB, Composite Systems Technology, Hexcel, and Toho Tenax. The NECST industry Consortium is IP-generating, and Members have specific rights to both background and new IP.  A Consortium Prospectus is available upon request.

The NECST Consortium’s technology focus is to improve the performance of advanced aerospace materials/structures through strategic use of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) combined with traditional advanced composites to form hybrid architectures. Two primary 3D nano-engineered architectures are being explored and developed, both polymer-matrix based, and a third is under development. The fabrication strategy involves novel synthesis of high-quality, long (several millimeters), aligned CNTs placed strategically within existing advanced composite systems. Results have demonstrated that high-quality CNT/traditional hybrid composite laminates can be architected and fabricated at rates and scales that can be used in full-scale aerospace structures.

The unifying focus of the Consortium is improved performance of advanced aerospace structures and, as such, it is centered in MIT’s Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics, and we continue to collaborate with Dr. John Hart at the University of Michigan's Mechanical Engineering Department on CNT processing and characterization topics.  The involvement of the Precision Engineering Research Group in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering provides expertise in developing equipment and processes for high-rate manufacturing and large-scale integration of nano-engineered composites. The research of the Consortium spans topics from fundamental science (e.g., catalyst characteristics for CNT growth) to more applied research such as laminate-level manufacturing and sub-structural strength testing, to such topics as environmental health and safety of nanostructured materials.