Development of Graphene/ceramic composites with damage self-monitoring capabilities

Smart composite materials have become essential in 21st century lifestyle.

This project is advertised as part of the EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership. It is currently not available to self-funded applicants. Find out more information about the DTP including how to apply.

We can find them in phone batteries, diabetes sensors, thermo-jackets or aircraft blades. Composite materials combine structural and functional capabilities and the recent integration of graphene into ceramic and polymeric matrices could open new opportunities on the design novel composites. However, to materialize this goal we need to be able to design and build structures to take full advantage of graphene’s (monoatomic layer of carbon) unique properties, such as it being the material of highest electrical conductivity or electron mobility. In this project we shall use a bottom up strategy to design new graphene/ceramic composite materials. Taking inspiration from biomaterials hierarchical structures will be developed. We will explore graphene oxide (chemically exfoliated graphite) suspensions processing in order to build 3D graphene networks which in turn will serve as scaffolds to host ceramic and ceramic based materials. And we will take advantage of novel technical ceramic manufacturing routes such as freeze casting or 3D printing to fabricate multi-materials and build devices The challenge is to design, build up, and evaluate a new composite with damage sensing capabilities. The goal “a novel composite with damage self-monitoring capabilities” would for instance save unexpected break-up stop costs in a broad range of applications from energy to transportation.

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