This is a selection of publications from the Structural Power Composites Group, for a full list of publications please see below.

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  • Journal article
    Lee C, Greenhalgh E, Shaffer M, Panesar Aet al., 2020,

    Optimized microstructures for multifunctional structural electrolytes

    , Multifunctional Materials, Vol: 2, ISSN: 2399-7532

    Multifunctional structural materials offer compelling opportunities to realize highly efficient products. However, the need to fulfil disparate functions generates intrinsically conflicting physical property demands. One attractive strategy is to form a bi-continuous architecture of two disparate phases, each addressing a distinct physical property. For example, structural polymer electrolytes combine rigid and ion-conducting phases to deliver the required mechanical and electrochemical performance. Here, we present a general methodology, based on topology optimization, to identify optimal microstructures for particular design considerations. The numerical predictions have been successfully validated by experiments using 3D printed specimens. These architectures are directly relevant to multifunctional structural composites whilst the methodology can easily be extended to identify optimal microstructural designs for other multifunctional material embodiments.

  • Journal article
    Johannisson W, Nguyen S, Lindbergh G, Zenkert D, Greenhalgh ES, Shaffer MSP, Kucernak ARJet al., 2020,

    A residual performance methodology to evaluate multifunctional systems

    , Multifunctional Materials, Vol: 3, Pages: 025002-025002
  • Conference paper
    Senokos E, Anthony D, Nguyen S, Kucernak A, Greenhalgh E, Shaffer Met al., 2020,

    Manganese dioxide decorated carbon aerogel/carbon fibre composite as a promising electrode for structural supercapacitors

    , 22nd International Conference on Composite Materials 2019 (ICCM22), Publisher: Engineers Australia, Pages: 1-8

    Manganese dioxide electrochemically deposited onto carbon aerogel/carbon fibres (CAG/CF) shows a great potential as an electrode material in multifunctional structural supercapacitors. MnO₂ nanowires grown by a pulse potentiometric method provide a large enhancement in capacitive performance of the carbon electrodes and symmetric supercapacitor devices based on the hybrid material.

  • Conference paper
    Nguyen S, Millereux A, Pouyat A, Greenhalgh E, Shaffer M, Kucernak A, Linde Pet al., 2020,

    Structural power performance requirements for future aircraft integration

    , 22nd International Conference on Composite Materials 2019 (ICCM22), Publisher: Engineers Australia, Pages: 1-12

    This paper investigates the use of structural power composites in Airbus A220-100 aircraft cabins by integrating floor panels with face sheets made of structural power composites to power the in-flight entertainment system. This application requires a minimum specific energy of 305 Wh/kg and a minimum specific power of 0.610 kW/kg. The static and dynamic loads for which the floor panels must be certified require an in-plane Young’s modulus of 50 GPa, a compressive strength of 225 MPa and a tensile strength of 119 MPa. Structural power composite floor panels are predicted to yield mass savings of 324 kg, annual cost savings of £85,000 per aircraft and annual reductions in CO2 and NOx emissions of 343 tonnes and 1.4 tonnes respectively. However, addressing challenges such as fire-resistance, long term cycling performance and public perception of structural power composites are necessary to enable widespread use of such materials on-board airliners.

  • Journal article
    Valkova M, Anthony DB, Kucernak ARJ, Shaffer MSP, Greenhalgh ESet al., 2020,

    Predicting the compaction of hybrid multilayer woven composite reinforcement stacks

    , Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing, Vol: 133, ISSN: 1359-835X

    A meso-scale finite element modelling strategy was developed to investigate the effect of hybridisation on the compaction response of multilayer stacks combining glass and carbon dry woven fabrics. It is expected that the electrochemical-mechanical properties of emerging multifunctional hybrid composites are strongly dictated by the morphology of the compacted reinforcements, yet no investigations into their compressibility have been reported. Model predictions were evaluated against compressibility measurements for monolithic and hybrid fabric stacks. The ply offset had a major influence on the predicted internal morphologies and fibre content, contributing to experimental variability thereof. Optical microscopy and micro X-ray computed tomography imaging indicated greater likelihood of intermediate ply offsets in physical specimens, over limit case model idealisations. Compressibility was slightly reduced in the hybrid multilayer stacks studied in this work. The model outputs presented are being used to analyse the electrochemical-mechanical response of hybrid woven structural power composites.

  • Journal article
    Nguyen S, Anthony DB, Qian H, Yue C, Singh A, Bismarck A, Shaffer MSP, Greenhalgh ESet al., 2019,

    Mechanical and physical performance of carbon aerogel reinforced carbon fibre hierarchical composites

    , Composites Science and Technology, Vol: 182, ISSN: 0266-3538

    Carbon aerogel (CAG) is a potential hierarchical reinforcement to improve the matrix-dominated mechanical properties of continuous carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites in both multifunctional and purely structural applications. When using CAG to reinforce a polyethylene glycol diglycidyl ether (PEGDGE) matrix, the interlaminar shear strength, compressive modulus and strength increased approximately four-fold, whilst the out-of-plane electrical conductivity increased by 118%. These mechanical and electrical performance enhancements significantly improve the multifunctional efficiency of composite structural supercapacitors, which can offer weight savings in transport and other applications. However, CAG also has the potential to reinforce conventional continuous CF composites in purely structural contexts. Here, CAG reinforcement of structural epoxy resin composites marginally increased compressive (1.4%) and tensile (2.7%) moduli respectively, but considerably reduced compressive, tensile and interlaminar shear strengths. Fractographic analysis shows that the reduced performance can be attributed to poor interfacial adhesion; in the future, alternative processing routes may resolve these issues to achieve advances in both moduli and strengths over conventional structural CFRPs.

  • Conference paper
    Anthony D, Nguyen S, Senokos E, Bismarck A, Kucernak A, Greenhalgh E, Shaffer Met al., 2019,

    Hierarchical carbon aerogel modified carbon fiber composites for structural power applications

    , 22nd International Conference on Composite Materials 2019 (ICCM22), Publisher: Engineers Australia, Pages: 1-7

    The desire to reduce overall weight in devices is a key driver for perpetual material development; the ability to combine composites with energy storage functions/capabilities which simultaneously provide structural integrity has the potential to supersede monofunctional components. To achieve this ambition, the multifunctional structure must perform both mechanical and energy storage functions sufficiently, but often there is a trade off in performance which is a significant challenge to overcome. Carbon aerogels have been shown to contribute positively to (electro-chemical double layer) capacitive performance due to an increased surface area in multifunctional carbon fiber based composite electrodes, but have also been shown to reduce mechanical properties; the addition of nanoscale reinforcers, such as carbon nanotubes, graphene or alike, with their superlative electrical and mechanical properties are proposed to address these concerns and create a truly hierarchical structure suitable for structural power applications.

  • Conference paper
    Lee C, Panesar A, Greenhalgh E, 2019,

    Design of optimised multi-scale structures for multifunctional composites

    , International conference on composite materials (ICCM-22), Publisher: Engineers Australia, Pages: 1-8

    The multi-scale structures are commonly found in nature, such as plants and bones. Such multi-scale structurescan be divided into macro-scale, micro-scale and further sub-scale structures. In this study, we aim to designoptimised two-scale structures for multifunctional composites, specifically by enhancing the structural stiffnessand the ionic conductivity simultaneously. To tackle this problem, a novel strategy for achieving optimised multiscale structures is presented. A database of optimised micro-scale structures and simple placement criterion forthe micro-scale structure were applied. We demonstrate the efficiency of our strategy by designing, optimisingand evaluating two-scale structures composed of macro-and micro-scales. The advantage of our strategy foroptimised multi-scale structures is presented and discussed by comparing the structural stiffness and the ionicconductivity of several two-scale structures composed of different microstructures such as the solid-void, uniformand varied microstructures.

  • Journal article
    Javaid A, Ho KKC, Bismarck A, Steinke JHG, Shaffer MSP, Greenhalgh ESet al., 2018,

    Improving the multifunctional behaviour of structural supercapacitors by incorporating chemically activated carbon fibres and mesoporous silica particles as reinforcement

    , JOURNAL OF COMPOSITE MATERIALS, Vol: 52, Pages: 3085-3097, ISSN: 0021-9983
  • Journal article
    Senokos E, Ou Y, Jose Torres J, Sket F, Gonzalez C, Marcilla R, Vilatela JJet al., 2018,

    Energy storage in structural composites by introducing CNT fiber/polymer electrolyte interleaves

    , SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, Vol: 8, ISSN: 2045-2322
  • Conference paper
    Anthony DB, bismarck A, blaker JJ, Qian H, Maples HA, Robinson P, Shaffer MSP, Greenhalgh ES, Bismarck A, Blaker JJ, Anthony DB, Qian H, Maples HA, Robinson P, Shaffer MSP, Greenhalgh ESet al., 2016,

    Development of novel composites through fibre and interface/interphase modification

    , 37th Risø International Symposium on Materials Science, Publisher: IOP, Pages: 012001-012001, ISSN: 1757-8981

    We show how fibre/matrix interface (or interphase) modification can be used to develop a range of novel carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites that open up new applications far beyond those of standard CFRPs. For example, composites that undergo pseudo-ductile failure have been created through laser treatment of carbon fibres. Composites manufactured with thermo-responsive interphases can undergo significant reductions in stiffness at elevated temperatures. Additionally, structural supercapacitors have been developed through a process that involves encapsulating carbon fibres in carbon aerogel.

  • Journal article
    Javaid A, Ho KKC, Bismarck A, Steinke JHG, Shaffer MSP, Greenhalgh ESet al., 2015,

    Carbon fibre-reinforced poly(ethylene glycol) diglycidylether based multifunctional structural supercapacitor composites for electrical energy storage applications

    , Journal of Composite Materials, Vol: 50, Pages: 2155-2163, ISSN: 1530-793X
  • Conference paper
    Qian H, Nguyen S, Anthony DB, Singh A, Xu S, Greenhalgh E, Bismarck A, Shaffer Met al., 2015,

    Stiff monolithic aerogel matrices for structural fibre composites

    , 20th International Conference on Composite Materials, Publisher: iccm-central.org

    Resorcinol-formaldehyde based aerogel precursors were infused into structural carbon fibreweaves, then gelled and carbonised to generate a continuous monolithic matrix network. Thishierarchical carbon preform was subsequently infused with polymeric resins, both multifunctional andstructural, to produce dense composites. The resulting hierarchical composites have a nanoscalereinforcement in the matrix at up to an order of magnitude higher loadings than typically available byother techniques. Compression, tension, ±45° shear and short beam tests demonstrate the potential ofsuch matrix systems to address matrix dominated failures. However, for the best structuralperformance it will be necessary to re-optimise the fibre-matrix interface, which is degraded by thecurrent processing regime.

  • Conference paper
    Greenhalgh ES, Shirshova N, Kucernak A, Shaffer MSP, Teixeira R, Bismarck A, Kireitseu M, Shelton Ret al., 2015,

    Recent advances in structural supercapacitors for transport applications

    © 2015 International Committee on Composite Materials. All rights reserved. Multifunctionality, in which secondary functions can be imbued onto structures, is leading to new opportunities to innovate and novel approaches to address the traditional challenges associated with adopting composites. This is leading to the development of truly multifunctional materials, in which the constituents (i.e. fibres and matrices) inherently have dual roles. The focus of this paper are structural power materials: structural composites which have the capacity to store and deliver electrical energy. This paper presents recent developments in structural supercapacitors, with particular focus on enhancing their specific electrical power. The specific electrical energy and power and ±45° in-plane shear modulus and strength of carbon fibre fabrics with and without CAG reinforcement were characterised. The matrix was a blend of a structural matrix (Cytec MTM® 57) and ionic liquid based electrolyte. Two separators were investigated: plain weave glass fibre (GF® 0902) and non-woven polyester veil (PM® 25). The specific energy and power of the CAG reinforced laminates demonstrated a considerable improvement over as-received carbon fibre fabrics which was attributed to optimisation of the microstructure of the electrode/separator interface. The laminates with glass fibre separators exhibited a superior shear modulus to the laminates with PM®25 separators due to the inferior mechanical properties of the PE veil. Similarly the CAG reinforcement significantly enhanced the modulus. Fractographic observations showed that for the non-CAG reinforced laminates the wetting between the carbon fibre electrode and glass fibre separator was inferior to that for the PM®25 separator. However, for the CAG reinforced laminates this trend was reversed, with the glass fibre separator exhibiting superior wetting, and hence a superior shear strength. However, further work is n

  • Journal article
    Greenhalgh ES, Ankersen J, Asp LE, Bismarck A, Fontana QPV, Houlle M, Kalinka G, Kucernak A, Mistry M, Nguyen S, Qian H, Shaffer MSP, Shirshova N, Steinke JHG, Wienrich Met al., 2014,

    Mechanical, electrical and microstructural characterisation of multifunctional structural power composites

    , Journal of Composite Materials, Vol: 49, Pages: 1823-1834, ISSN: 1530-793X
  • Journal article
    Asp LE, Greenhalgh ES, 2014,

    Structural power composites

    , COMPOSITES SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, Vol: 101, Pages: 41-61, ISSN: 0266-3538
  • Journal article
    Javaid A, Ho KKC, Bismarck A, Shaffer MSP, Steinke JHG, Greenhalgh ESet al., 2014,

    Multifunctional structural supercapacitors for electrical energy storage applications

    , JOURNAL OF COMPOSITE MATERIALS, Vol: 48, Pages: 1409-1416, ISSN: 0021-9983
  • Journal article
    Shirshova N, Qian H, Houlle M, Steinke JHG, Kucernak ARJ, Fontana QPV, Greenhalgh ES, Bismarck A, Shaffer MSPet al., 2014,

    Multifunctional structural energy storage composite supercapacitors

    , FARADAY DISCUSSIONS, Vol: 172, Pages: 81-103, ISSN: 1359-6640
  • Journal article
    Qian H, Kucernak AR, Greenhalgh ES, Bismarck A, Shaffer MSPet al., 2013,

    Multifunctional Structural Supercapacitor Composites Based on Carbon Aerogel Modified High Performance Carbon Fiber Fabric

    , ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES, Vol: 5, Pages: 6113-6122, ISSN: 1944-8244
  • Journal article
    Qian H, Diao H, Shirshova N, Greenhalgh ES, Steinke JGH, Shaffer MSP, Bismarck Aet al., 2013,

    Activation of structural carbon fibres for potential applications in multifunctional structural supercapacitors

    , JOURNAL OF COLLOID AND INTERFACE SCIENCE, Vol: 395, Pages: 241-248, ISSN: 0021-9797

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