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Title: Self-healing organic/inorganic composites
Author: D'Elia, Eleonora
ISNI:       0000 0004 5989 589X
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2015
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Nature provides us with amazingly complex and clever systems, structures and substances that make up the world we see around us. We can refer to nature, borrowing its ingenious solutions to solve engineering challenges or improve existing man-made materials. The process of assimilating real- world biological examples into technology is called 'bio-inspiration', and for many years scientists have been attempting to imitate the design of natural materials. This project seeks to mimic some of the complex architectures with outstanding properties found in nature: the shells of molluscs, with extraordinary toughness due to a highly hierarchical structure of platelets on the micro- and nano- scale, and human bone, with its ability to self-heal and regenerate its complex composite organic/inorganic microstructure after fracture. In this work it will therefore be investigated the effect of composite polymer/ceramic structures obtained via a manufacturing technique called freeze-casting, it is observed and optimised the role of the thin interface in self-healing organic/inorganic composites and the composition of the soft supramolecular phase and the inorganic phase is varied in order to obtain structures with properties closer to the behaviour of natural ones. The study couples interface and composite design with mechanical tests to determine interfacial adhesion in order to understand the factors that control the strength of the composite and the effectiveness and timescale of its self-healing. The same self-healing polymer is moreover used in the production of an innovative light composite exhibiting electrical conductivity and compression and flexion sensing capabilities in the attempt to mimic the outstanding properties of skin.
Supervisor: Saiz, Eduardo ; Georgiou, Theoni Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available