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Novel Carbon Fiber Reinforced Material Comes With Repetitive Healing Properties

Nov, 2021 - By WMR

Novel Carbon Fiber Reinforced Material Comes With Repetitive Healing Properties

Scientists developed a novel strong, light carbon fiber reinforcement material that can be healed repeatedly with heat to reverse any fatigue damage.

After so many years of research, fatigue is still a primary issue causing failure of carbon-fiber reinforced polymeric (CFRP) composites. There are some techniques that use nano-scale additives to tackle this issue by slowing down the cracks development in the polymer. Now scientists from University of Washington came up with a way to develop a carbon fiber reinforced material that is light and strong as conventional materials and can be healed repeatedly with heat to reverse any fatigue damage and provide a way to recycle it when it expires.

Considering the limitations of CFRP composites, the team of researchers at University of Washington used a new group of carbon fiber material termed as carbon fiber reinforced vitrimers (vCFRPs). These materials come with combined qualities of two types of CFRPs, thermoplastics and thermosets. The vitrimer plastics in vCFRPs create strong chemical links in the beginning that make a strong and rigid material. However, these links get disconnected when vitrimers are heated using radiofrequency or traditional heat sources, which allows cracks or any other flaws to heal themselves. When the vitrimers cool down, the links are again formed and the materials gets its strength back.

Furthermore, the team claims that this way, repairing damages or degradation of vCFRPs can be done repetitively and it can be eventually broken down to recycle. According to the research team, vitrimers may become a practical sustainable option for many of the other products that are produced from thermosets building up in landfill. The healable vCFRPs could become a big shift in dynamic material having various set of properties with regard to cost, safety, maintenance, and reliability.

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