Advanced light-weight elastomeric nanocomposites for harvesting mechanical energy

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: WMG


This aligns with the Materials for Energy Applications research area.
This project will investigate how to develop polymeric nanocomposite materials which exhibit a piezoelectric response so that they may be used for energy harvesting from mechanical vibrations with respect to the application of powering sensors within a transport vehicle. Initially the modification of polar and non-polar polymers will be investigated for use as the nanocomposites. The key properties for the nanocomposites will be the mechanical strength and the dielectric constants. The data obtained will be used to look at how to model the systems using Finite Element Modelling to investigate either the molecular level interactions or the interactions of the continous phase. Mechanical vibrations occurring in transportation vehicles can be absorbed by electroactive nanocomposites to potentially facilitate the mechanical energy harvesting, and transition to electrical energy. This project will design and develop novel graphene-doped hybrid elastomer nanocomposites for mechanical energy harvesting. The effects of nanoparticle surface chemistry, dispersion and interfacial interactions, processing methodologies on the mechanical and piezoelectric response of the nanocomposites will be investigated. Finite Element (FE) models will assist experimental work to provide an insight into the relationship between material composition, morphology, and overall dielectric response of the nanocomposites.
This links to Materials for Energy Applications, and also potentially linked it to Materials Engineering - Composites


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Ellingford C (2020) Self-Healing Dielectric Elastomers for Damage-Tolerant Actuation and Energy Harvesting. in ACS applied materials & interfaces

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Luo H (2019) Interface design for high energy density polymer nanocomposites. in Chemical Society reviews

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/P510695/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1793525 Studentship EP/P510695/1 03/10/2016 31/12/2020 Christopher Ellingford
Description So far, multiple chemically modified elastomers havebeen produced which exhibit superior actuation abilities compared to the unmodified elastomer and also exhibits a self-healing ability. Modification has been approached both intrinsically and extrinsically. Intrinsic modification has resulted in superior mechanical and electrical properties
Exploitation Route The materials display excellent actuation and energy harvesting abilities. Up to 10% actuation strain is observed and up to 11 mJ g-1 of energy can be harvested per cycle. The technology of energy harvesting can be utilised within automotive industry and even construction to implement the harvesting devices within building or under busy roads/walkways.
Sectors Construction,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology