Fibre reinforced polymer composites, i.e. plastics reinforced with thin fibres, are mainly used in products requiring high stiffness and strength in combination with low weight.
Our work is focused on fibre reinforced polymer composites (fibre reinforced plastics), often called "fibre composites" or simply "composites".
High stiffness and strength in combination with low weight makes composites an attractive choice of materail e.g. in aircraft, racing vehicles, boats, wind turbines, sports equipment, protective equipment and sandwich structures. Lightweight design can reduce the weight and thereby the fuel conusmption of vehicles with combustion engines and increase the range of electrical vehicles. Other advantages are an increased design freedom and maintenance free products less prone to corrosion. Future composite materials will increasingly be biobased and designed for multiple functions, e.g. energy storage, embedded sensors and shape adaption when needed.
Composites has most often their origin in non-renewable fossil oil materials. These materials will in the future be replaced with biobased materials. As composites are used more frequently, they will be introduced in many different applications in whitch they will face many different challenges such as high temperatures. Composites also have the opportunity, not only to function as a structural unit, but also to incorporate different functions, for example a carbon fiber composite can simultaneously function as a battery. As composites becomes a larger and larger group of materials, the recycling of these materials must also be solved to obtain a circular economy.
We are experts in material development and characterization of composites. Some focus areas are:
Biocomposites with both thermoplastic matrix and thermoset matrix together with biobased fibres. For example, the fibres may be carbon fibres from lignin, flax, hemp and cellulose.
Multi-material structures where special properties from different material types are combined to get a optimal component. The objectives can be different, anything from creating and cost-effective product to a special functionality such as materials for which the stiffness may change depending on the situation, incorporation of sensors and energy storage.
High temperature and fire. We actively work with the development of polymer materials designed for restaining high temperatures (up to 400°C) and fire.
Recycling of composites and multimaterials, both via thermal and chemical methods.