Silicon nanocomposite foams for improved thermal stability and performance

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: The Warwick Manufacturing Group


Whilst the use of foams has been shown to improve the weight of many structures within automotive design, unless a thermoset material is implemented, the temperature range in which carbon-based polymer materials maintain stability and performance is somewhat limited. Introduction of silicone-based polymer functionality which possesses unique thermal properties (at both very low and very high temperatures) within foams will increase the usable temperature range for these materials, thus allowing use within any climate worldwide. This is expected to limit variation in manufacturing processes.
This project centres on the development of new methods for production of polymer foams formed via in situ production (gas generated during polymerisation) and/or templating (utilising emulsion polymerisation) methods. Tailoring the physico-chemical properties of these systems will allow for the preparation of strong but lightweight materials that are flame retardant and may be applied towards a wide range of automotive applications such as seats, seals, damping, etc. These materials will be synthesised as silicone-based polymeric materials or silicone hybrid materials. The incorporation of nanoparticles or the growth of silica nanoparticles in situ, will further improve the performance such as toughness and overall lifetime of the materials. The characterisation of these polymer foams will be achieved through both molecular and materials techniques such as Scanning Electron Microscopy, in situ simultaneous, SAXS/WAXS analysis, X-ray tomography, Infrared and Raman Spectroscopy as well as mechanical properties (in both static and dynamic modes).


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509796/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1939302 Studentship EP/N509796/1 02/10/2017 30/09/2021 Andrew Hickman