Host Institution: The University of Bristol
Start Date: 1st January, 2022
Duration: 6 months
Lead Investigator: Dmitry Ivanov
The rapid development of fibre reinforced polymer composites has yielded significant benefits in structural efficiency and through life costs. As composites offer many design freedoms, significant cost savings can be made by reducing parts counts and joining operations. However, the drawback is that when a composite component is damaged it is difficult to replace a part that is co-bonded or co-cured in a larger structure, often resulting in disposal of a large asset leading to an increasing composites waste mountain. The alternative is to repair, but current techniques are cumbersome and time-consuming, with low confidence in their efficacy for primary structures. Our vision is to reduce the amount of scraped non-recyclable composite components by developing a new holistic process-for-material and materials-for-process approach that enables accessible, efficient, and reliable repair techniques.
The realisation of our vision will enable design for repair manufacturing strategies, which comprises the following:
(i) Identification of areas susceptible to operational wear, fatigue damage, or environmental degradation, which cannot be efficiently solved without the penalty of weight, cost or excessive complexity;
(ii) Design of replaceable patches right at the stage of manufacturing the new component and involving novel matrix formulation;
(iii) Design of replacement process including local extraction of damaged matrices and integration of fresh material without damaging surrounding structure and continuous composite reinforcement; Hence, the overarching ambition of ADDRESS is to rethink in-field composite repair methodologies.
The vision is achieved by deploying: – manufacturing tailored to novel material systems that would allow easy separation of matrices in the expired (or damaged) patches without affecting continuous reinforcement and their further efficient recycling; – highly controlled rapid processing, which provides sufficient integrity for primary structures, hence, increasing the life and making composite assets more sustainable.