PhD Student: Yinglun Hong

The main target of this project is to design epoxy composites which exhibit sensing ability, excellent mechanical strength, self-healing and shape memory features. The thermally responsive self-healing and shape memory epoxy vitrimer was presented by IK4-CIDETEC research centre. This epoxy exhibits fast stress relaxation above the glass transition temperature due to the aromatic disulphide exchange reactions. However, this material is not strong enough for load-bearing applications and cannot sense the environment (electrical and mechanical stimuli). In this project the approach will be divided into the following aspects:

  1. Testing the self-healing and self-shaping abilities of the epoxy resin. Improve the formulation of the epoxy to achieve better performance.
  2. Design polymer-ceramic composites with brick-and-mortar structure to enhance the mechanical strength of the epoxy resin. The micro alumina platelets will be employed to be the ceramic "bricks”. The mortar will be a mixture of graphene and epoxy. Graphene is added to form a conductive interconnected network. Therefore, the composite can respond to electrical stimuli. In this way the material can also monitor the formation of damage.
  3. The possibility of processing the composites by robocasting technique will be studied.