Human mobility is entering a new era and in all these changes polymeric materials are playing a key role. The car of the future should be safe, comfortable and sustainable. Our polymer processing capabilities offer unique options for combining dissimilar materials like metals, thermoplastics, rubbers, thermosets, and advanced composites, all functionally integrated in a lightweight hybrid design. Our research programme in lightweighting focuses on materials, processing and recycling aspects of engineering plastics, composites and hybrids.
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Lightweight is a critical factor for sustainability in future transport applications but function integration is becoming more and more important in new design concepts. Multifunctional polymeric materials developed in our group target optical transparency, structural colour, electrical and thermal conductivity, energy generation and storage, as well as integrated sensing of stimuli like deformation, damage, humidity, temperature etc.
These materials are utilized in such diverse fields as filtration, textiles, composites, nonwovens, insulation, paper, packaging, adhesives, coatings, multilayers etc. The main aim is to control structure-property relationships at the molecular and mesoscopic scale. Functionalities may include sustainability, high strength, barrier properties, optical properties or stimuli-responsive “intelligent” sensors or actuators.
The Group is addressing several grand challenges related to nanocomposites:
Nanocomposites are formed when a functional material having at least 1 dimension on the nanoscale (<100nm) is dispersed in a matrix, such as a polymer, metal or ceramic. Examples of functional materials include carbon nanotubes, graphene, nano-cellulose, inorganic nanowires, ceramics, layered silicates, layered double hydroxides, and other inorganic nanoparticles. The many unique and extraordinary properties (e.g. electrical conductivity, high current carrying density, thermal conductivity, strength, stiffness, magnetic, optical) of such functional materials can be translated to the matrix material to form a composite material having multifunctional properties including, for example, stimuli-responsive and electromagnetic induction shielding in combination with lightweight.
Finding new ways to create polymer based products for innovations in lightweighting, system integration, smart devices, fibres and textiles, sustainable packaging, recycling and many more.