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Title: Development of novel polymeric and composite nano-structured micro-porous materials for impact resistance applications
Author: Greco, Pier Paolo
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 2539
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2014
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Impact resistant materials (IRMs) are widely used in the automotive and packaging industry. Their main purpose is the protection of the transported occupants or goods. Cellular materials as well as structures combine lightness with large deformation under load. The energy absorption mechanism is provided by limiting the peak load and ensuring the elastic deformation of the IRMs. Polymeric foams are largely used as IRMs due to their cellular structure. Prediction of the foam properties in terms of Young’s Modulus (Elastic Modulus) and the onset of Plateau Region can be related to the foam density and the mechanical properties of the bulk material (Gibson and Ashby model). The structure of the foam is only partly accounted for in the Gibson and Ashby model in terms of material density. However, it is possible to produce cellular materials with the same density but very different internal architectures. This cannot easily be exploited in conventional polymer foams but the processing of High Internal Phase Emulsion (PolyHIPE) and its polymerisation route to produce PolyHIPE Polymers (PHPs) can produce materials with very different structures. Experiments have revealed that the PHPs properties are dictated by their detailed structure. Elastic PHPs with: 1) varying ratio of polymerizable oil phase with respect to aqueous phase and 2) varying mixing time/energy input were produced and tested by mechanical compression at different temperatures and strain rates. The elastic modulus increases with a quadratic law as a function of the polymerizable oil phase content of the HIPE when the mixing time is the same, as predicted by the model. The Specific Absorption Energy (SAE), represented by the area under the stress-strain curve, increases in a similar way. Increasing mixing time on HIPE has the effect of modifying the cellular structure. Smaller pores and narrower distribution of pores are observed. Such features are consistent for any set of PHPs densities and represent a design tool when some specific mechanical characteristics are prescribed. The assessment of process-structure-properties relationships was performed by combining the mechanical response of the various PHPs with the imaging of their structure by Scanning Electron Microscopy. The properties of PHPs were benchmarked with reference to two commercially available products. One material is characterised by a porous structure with a relatively high Young’s Modulus while the other by a non-porous and composite-like solid structure with lower elastic modulus. The properties of the PHPs can be engineered to shift from a foam-like material to a composite-like through the processing parameters which in turn modify the material porous structure. The temperature has very limited effect on the PHPs material unlike for the reference commercial materials. The enhancement of properties (increasing Elastic Modulus and SAE) induced by changing the processing route are remarkable for such a class of porous materials. When plotted on a Modulus-Density chart, the PHPs fill an existing material-chart gap, representing a new class of materials and opening new possibilities as IRMs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Try & Lilly Ltd
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available