PDRA Erik Poloni: Development of bioinspired ceramics for aerospatial applications
Current research topic
In my current postdoctoral work at CASC, I aim at learning new tools for the manufacture of advanced structural ceramics for aerospace applications. My main projects are funded by the European Space Agency and the EPSRC hub in Manufacture using Advanced Powder Processes and they are carried out in collaboration with industrial partners.
The first project consists in synthesizing single-crystal silicon carbide (SiC) platelets and assembling them into tough “brick-and-mortar” composites. These composites will operate at higher temperatures than the ones that SiC-based ceramic-matrix composites (CMCs) can withstand, as the amorphous fibers in CMCs undergo crystallization. My second project consists in freeze-casting fused silica or cordierite particles and processing them into transparent and layered composites with low coefficient of thermal expansion.
Past research activities
In my past research, I worked with the assembly of ceramic platelets and polymers or metals into layered structures. I tailored the surface chemistry of platelets and produced suspensions that are processed into bio-inspired architectured composites with outstanding mechanical and optical behavior. I also have experience in using similar tools to manipulate micro- and nanometer sized particles and assemble them into functional composites for applications such as strain sensing, structural coloring and drug delivery.
Recently, I conceived a new method to prepare carbon–phenolic ablators for the thermal protection of spacecraft at high temperatures based on porosity optimization. Focusing more on the structure–performance interplay, during my first postdoc experience I worked on the thorough characterization of these ablators in plasma wind tunnel facilities using non-intrusive and embedded diagnostics.
2022–now, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Centre for Advanced Structural Ceramics, Department of Materials, Imperial College London, United Kingdom.
2021–2022, Postdoctoral Research Associate, High Enthalpy Flow Diagnostics Group, Institute of Space Systems, University of Stuttgart, Germany.
2016–2021, PhD, ETH Zurich, Switzerland. Thesis: Bioinspired architectured composites with tunable optical and functional properties.
2012–2016, MSc, CentraleSupélec, France.
2010–2016, BSc, State University of Campinas, Brazil.