Florida International University (FIU) is seeking a business partner to develop and commercialize a shape-memory epoxy polymer graphene foam composite (SMEP-GrF).
Self-healing ability in shape memory polymer (SMP) occurs due to its shape recovery behavior which is a function of its thermal conduction and stiffness. Methods that have been used to improve thermal conduction and stiffness include addition of graphene reinforcement in SMP. However, the non-homogeneous distribution of graphene in SMP has been the shortcoming of this approach, resulting in unnoticeable improvement in the recovery rate of SMP epoxy.
To overcome this limitation, FIU researchers have used three dimensional-GrF filler to fabricate SMP epoxy composites that have uniform stiffness and are thermally conductive.GrF is a three dimensional (3D) carbon based material with an interconnected continuous framework. Its framework allows homogeneous dispersion into polymer matrix which resolves the challenge of non-uniform distribution of two-dimensional carbon reinforcement. The 3D architecture of graphene foam provides pathways for thermal, electrical, and stress transfer within the SMP epoxy matrix, thereby demonstrating its multi-functional capacity. GrF has ultralow density of 4 mg/cm3 and high thermal (2000-4000 W/mK) and electrical conductivity (106 S/m) of graphene which enables it to be an excellent candidate as a thermal, mechanical, and electrical filler to produce lightweight and improved multi-functional SMP composites. The multifunctional properties derived from graphene foam enables accelerated self-healing.
Accelerated self-healing material for healable material for aircraft, automotive, electronic applications.
- Composite is thermally and electrically conductive; transforms electrically non-conductive SMP epoxy to a highly electro-thermal conductive polymer.
- Composite helps to self-repair damages surfaces in a short amount of time (shape recovery rate with composite is accelerated by 23% than with just SMP epoxy and there is 100 % shape recovery with addition of only 0.75 wt. % GrF addition).
- Composite can be actuated from multiple thermal sources to exhibit shape recovery.
- Addition of GrF results in improving the mechanical properties of SMP epoxy. Composite is structurally robust during structural rearrangement associated with shape memory transformation.
- Composite is light weight with self-healing ability and allows for multiple actuation methods.
- Composite has homogeneous distribution of graphene in SMP to give uniform stiffness.