Self-Tuning Fibre-Reinforced Polymer Adaptive Nanocomposite (STRAINcomp)
The UK ENGINEERING AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL funded project
The technology proposed by STRAINcomp will be applicable to a variety of research communities, scientists, educators, students and composite industries from the highly conservative aviation to automotive and renewable energy sectors as well as biomedical sector. STRAINcomp will also have indirect impacts on reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions during the manufacturing process through the use of less carbon fibres, or microwave and radiofrequency rapid heating technologies. Developed in-situ measurement and strain sensor technologies via dielectric constant measurements can also be influenced post-project. That can open up opportunities for non-destructive dielectric measurement of defects in structure.
The major impact of this project will be to inform development practice by improving the scientific understanding of microtoughening mechanism in the presence of nanomaterials so as to provide researchers, designers and manufacturers with the confidence to invest in this multi-disciplinary efficient technology and thereby improve materials and structures sustainability.
By providing the evidence base for cost-effective lightweight technologies, STRAINcomp can stretch further towards low income companies as well as critical highly certification driven sectors such as aerospace and defence, and towards other multifunctional sectors such as biomedical devices, and/or communities will be able to afford to invest in improving their own multifunctional products, and realise the benefits.
It is estimated that due to the multi-disciplinary nature of STRAINcomp the ultimate result is that almost all composite sectors will be benefited. This will make highly competitive composite market and will lead to cheap products so public will directly be benefited, but the impact on the environment and energy consumption will be minimal.
With its advanced design and manufacturing capability, the pioneering Enhanced Composites and Structures Centre is an established partner to manufacturers and the members of their supply chains through short courses, consultancy and research. The Centre investigates and develops materials and processing technology for lightweight and efficient structures and combines an expertise in low cost manufacturing with modelling, simulation and structural health monitoring technologies. Its research into the development and processing of carbon fibre multi-axial fabrics is now part of the Airbus A380. The Centre has also produced a complete unmanned aircraft airframe using low-cost composite manufacturing; composite reinforcing techniques for aerospace landing gear; sensors for built-in detection of structural degradation ; and a cost model for composite design and manufacturing. The team designed and manufactured a successful experimental aircraft airframe, and an ultralight carbon fibre body for the Nissan UK hybrid supercar demonstrated at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.Read More »
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