Numerical and experimental studies performed to develop nanocomposites with varying carbon nanotube (CNT) alignment density within an epoxy matrix are presented. A 3-D numerical model has been developed that looks at the behavior of CNTs in epoxy resin subjected to non-uniform electric fields by explicitly accounting for electric field coupled with fluid flow and particle motion considering the transient resin viscosity. The transient nature of resin viscosity has been incorporated into the simulation study with data related to resin viscosity variation with time and temperature generated experimentally. The response of CNTs due to the induced dielectrophoretic force was studied using the numerical model. The model facilitated the design of an optimal electrode configuration for the processing of variable density composites. A computer controlled Arduino UNO based circuitry was developed to control supply of voltage to the electrodes during sample fabrication. The circuit was then integrated with AC voltage supply units and the electrode set-up for fabricating the variable density composite samples. Low weight fractions of CNTs (0.05 wt.% and 0.1 wt.%) in epoxy resin were used for the experimental work and preliminary experimental studies were conducted. Electrical characterization results of the variable density nanocomposites indicate over 100% and 30% increase in electrical resistance measured across sample widths in 0.05 wt.% and 0.1 wt.% CNT samples, respectively. The measured sample resistance values confirmed that variation in CNT alignment density was achieved across the samples.

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