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DTA - Epoxy nanocomposites as conductive adhesives for OoA in-situ CFRPs repair

   Department of Materials

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  Dr C Valles  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

It has been recently probed that an epoxy resin filled with graphene can be successfully cured by a simple Joule heating effect of the electrically conductive network of flakes embedded in the matrix above percolation. This finding represents the basis for the development of an out-of-autoclave (OoA) curing method with great potential to replace the conventional oven (or autoclave) based one and overcome their main drawbacks, i.e. huge energy consumption and size limitation. This novel curing method shows promise not only to be implemented in composites fabrication processes, but also in their reparation. Indeed, it has been recently found that graphene/epoxy nanocomposites can be used as conductive adhesives to repair successfully carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRPs) through Joule heat curing, showing similar shear strengths to those found for the samples repaired in an oven using neat epoxy or epoxy/GNPs composites. However, improvements on their fracture toughness have not been found.

The scope of this PhD project will be to develop strategies to improve the fracture toughness of CFRPs repaired through Joule heat curing of epoxy nanocomposite mixtures. The Joule heating properties of thermosetting polymers filled with different types of nanomaterials (graphene, carbon nanotubes, MXenes) will be studied and related to their structure. Their performance as conductive adhesives for CFRPs repair through Joule heat curing rendering good mechanical properties will be investigated.

The PhD student will join the 'Advanced Nanomaterials Group' under the supervision of Dr. Vallés and Prof. Kinloch. This project will have access to the fabrication and characterization facilities available within the Department of Materials, National Graphene Institute (NGI) and Henry Royce Institute. The student will require experience in experimental nanocomposite research and 2D nanomaterials. Applicants should have at least a 2.1 honours degree in Materials Science, Physics, Chemistry or a related subject.

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact [Email Address Removed]

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact. We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status.

 We also support applications from those returning from a career break or other roles. We consider offering flexible study arrangements (including part-time: 50%, 60% or 80%, depending on the project/funder). 

Funding Notes

UKRI funded project. UK fees and stipend paid at current UKRI rate. For reference, stipend rate for academic year 22/23 is £17,668. Some fee waivers may be available for exceptional international candidates.
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