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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S004688/1
Title: Vertically Aligned Ferromagnetic-fibre Reinforced (VAFeR) Films for Enhanced Damage Tolerant Composites
Principal Investigator: Yasaee, Dr M
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Formtech Composites Ltd. National Composites Centre
Department: Sch of Aerospace, Transport & Manufact
Organisation: Cranfield University
Scheme: New Investigator Award
Starts: 01 October 2018 Ends: 30 September 2020 Value (£): 169,548
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Manufacturing Machine & Plant Materials Processing
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Aug 2018 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 7 and 8 August 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
It is well established that delamination damage is the dominant failure mechanism in laminated composites. There have been numerous technologies proposed to address this failure mechanism, with many state-of-the art methods such as Z-pinning, tufting, nano fibre reinforcements all suffering from problems such as manufacturing challenges, inconsistent toughening performance and expensive materials and infrastructure costs. For this reason there has been very little commercial use of these technologies in industry. There is clearly a need for a low cost, consistent and widely applicable through thickness reinforcement technology for composite structures.

In this proposal a new concept is introduced which can deliver through thickness aligned micro-fibre reinforcements at the critical interfaces within a composite material. Using electromagnetic field alignment, ferromagnetic micro-fibres will be vertically orientated within a polymer resin film which can then be interleaved in a composite material during the standard layup process. During the cure process, the softening of the resin and the applied pressure will consolidate the layers, forcing the aligned reinforcements to penetrate the adjoining laminates, providing a mechanism which will significantly increase the fracture toughness of composite materials. With this approach, highly damage tolerant composite structures can be produced at a fraction of the costs relative to current technologies. Several practical and scientific challenges will be investigated in three key objectives:

(1) Identify ferromagnetic micro fibre materials with high magnetic field susceptibility, high stiffness and strength and compatible with a suitable thermosetting resin system

(2) Produce VAFeR films with capability to control various operating conditions for alignment and integration of the micro-fibres within a partially cured thermosetting resin film

(3) Investigate effect of micro-fibre length and volume content on the mechanical performance of composite laminates with the application of the VAFeR films

This is an exciting opportunity to develop a new cost effective procedure with capability to significantly increase the damage tolerance capability of composite structures, a potentially transformative prospect for the UK composites research and industry.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Impacts
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Summary
Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.cranfield.ac.uk