SELF-HEALING POLYMERS FOR CONCEPTS ON SELF-REPAIRE.. (HIPOCRATES)
SELF-HEALING POLYMERS FOR CONCEPTS ON SELF-REPAIRED AERONAUTICAL COMPOSITES
Start date: Nov 1, 2013,
End date: Oct 31, 2016
A composite aero-structure with self-repair capabilities will offer durability, extend its service life and prolong maintenance protocols leading to lower aircraft operational costs. Despite the extensive research activities in the area of self-healing resins applied to composite materials, the research for aeronautical applications is currently very limited. To this end, the main objective of HIPOCRATES is the development of self-repair composite materials by transforming widely used resins within aeronautical industry to self-healing materials, facilitating this way the subsequent certification and its related cost. Taking into account the current technological maturity of self-repair, secondary structural composites shall be targeted. The transformation will be done through the epoxy enrichment with appropriate chemical agents, following three main strategies: a) The nano-encapsulation strategy that involves incorporation of nano-encapsulated healing agents and a dispersed catalyst within a polymer matrix, b) The reversible polymers strategy where remediable polymer matrices follow the Diels-Alder chemical reaction rendering damage repairable through triggered reversible cross-linking. c) A combination for the first time of a) and b). For all strategies the current progress of nano-technology will be utilized towards either better facilitation of self-healing process (e.g. nano-carriers) or enhancement of the self-healing performance or integration of other functionalities (e.g. monitoring of the self-healing performance, activation of DA reaction). Impact, fracture and fatigue mechanical tests are envisioned to assess the self-healing efficiency. Manufacturing challenges that arise from incorporating such self-healing thermosetting systems into fibrous composites (pre-preg, infusion/RTM) shall be closely investigated at the early stages of development to ensure the effective transfer of the desired properties to the large scale as required by the industry.
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