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Bio-inspired, Tailorable and Healable Multi-Impact Resistant Carbon Fibre-Reinforced Thermoplastic Polymers

Project description

Improving the impact resistance of carbon fibre-reinforced thermoplastic polymers

Carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites allow the design of lightweight structures with a lower carbon footprint than conventional metallic ones, representing a highly profitable market in the EU’s economy. However, exploitation is limited due to two factors: CFRP composites present poor damage and impact tolerance as well as design space due to the absence of robust design tools and the limited capability of past manufacturing technologies. The EU-funded BIOTHECT project will address these issues by developing innovative bio-inspired, tailorable and healable multi-impact resistant carbon fibre-reinforced thermoplastic polymer structures. These will be characterised by locally improved damage tolerance without a weight increase, lower manufacturing waste and lighter structure. The project will address existing industrial needs for reduced costs and sustainability.

Objective

Carbon fibre-reinforced polymer composites (CFRPs) constitute a highly profitable market in EU’s economy. Their high stiffness and strength and low density allow engineers to design lightweight structures with a lower carbon footprint than conventional metallic ones. Nonetheless, CFRPs hold two main drawbacks which hinder their exploitation in industry: 1) poor damage and impact tolerance; and 2) limited design space due to the lack of robust design tools and the limited capability of past manufacturing technologies. This 2-year fellowship tackles these drawbacks by developing novel bio-inspired, tailorable and healable multi-impact resistant CFRTP (BIOTHECT) structures. BIOTHECT uses helicoidal layups to minimise fibre breakage during impact and a thermoplastic matrix to enable healing. BIOTHECT structures address current industrial needs for lower maintenance costs, sustainability and weight savings. A novel numerical tool will be developed to understand and design BIOTHECT structures with unique performances. Optimal BIOTHECT structures will be manufactured, tested and analysed through detailed damage analyses to develop the design tool to unprecedented accuracy. The fine-tuned design tool will be translated to industry-friendly packages for direct exploitation. Finally, in the context of the digital industry, the project explores the use of automated manufacturing technologies, 3D printing, to tailor BIOTHECT designs locally in larger conventional structures. This novel design aims at creating macro-components with locally improved damage tolerance without a weight increase, hence leading to lower manufacturing waste and lighter structures. The fellowship will take place at KU Leuven with a 4-month secondment at the Thermoplastic Composites Research Center (NL). Training plan, technical work packages, exploitation, dissemination and communication activities will work together to lead the ER to cover a leading role in his own research group in or out of academia.

Coordinator

KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN
Net EU contribution
€ 166 320,00
Address
OUDE MARKT 13
3000 Leuven
Belgium

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Region
Vlaams Gewest Prov. Vlaams-Brabant Arr. Leuven
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 166 320,00