Research is focused on lightweight materials using novel processing for composites, either ceramic or polymer based, and is strongly linked to the modelling and simulation activity within SEMS where novel analytical/numerical design tools are being developed for composites. Research activity revolves around the development of recyclable composite materials based on oriented tape and film rather than fibres. A large activity is on the utilization of nano-scale architectures in polymer composites. Here, through the study of biological systems, we aim to develop new design rules for optimized materials based on nanoscale architectures. Extensive research activity involves the application of carbon nanotubes and graphene in nanocomposites with an involvement in the Graphene Flagship. Future research is here expected to grow in smart composites with integrated sensing, actuation, self-healing, and energy storage capabilities.
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Cranford SW, Tarakanova A, Pugno NM and Buehler MJ (2012). Nonlinear material behaviour of spider silk yields robust webs. Nature vol. 482, (7383) 72-76. 10.1038/nature10739
Stachewicz U, Modaresifar F, Bailey RJ, Peijs T and Barber AH (2012). Manufacture of void-free electrospun polymer nanofiber composites with optimized mechanical properties. Acs Appl Mater Interfaces vol. 4, (5) 2577-2582. 10.1021/am300235r