Here, we give the first-ever report of radio frequency (RF) electromagnetic heating of polymer nanocomposite materials via direct-contact and capacitively coupled electric field applicators. Notably, RF heating allows nanocomposite materials to be resistively heated with electric fields. We highlight our novel RF heating technique for multiwalled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) thermoplastic composites and measure their broadband dielectric properties. We also demonstrate three different electric field applicator configurations and discuss their practical use in an industrial setting. We demonstrate the use of RF heating to cure an automotive-grade epoxy loaded with MWCNTs. Our results show that lap shear joints cured faster with the RF method compared with control samples cured in an oven because of the heat-transfer advantages of directly heating the epoxy composite. Finally, we implement our RF curing technique to assemble an automotive structure by locally curing an epoxy adhesive applied to a truck chassis.
- RF heating