Rita Cornforth Fellowship Candidate Seminar - Dr Jing Zhang

Development of High-Performance Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer Composite Materials and Green Approach for the Fabrication of Polymer Materials


Carbon fibre reinforced polymer composites are widely used in aerospace, construction and sporting goods due to their outstanding mechanical properties, light weight and high thermal stabilities.1 Their overall performance depends to a great extent upon the quality of fibre-matrix interface.2,3 In this talk, different surface treatments applied to carbon fibres and their effect on the interfacial strength of the carbon fibre/epoxy composites will be presented firstly.

Compared to traditional thermally cured technologies used for the fabrication of carbon fibre reinforced polymer composites, photopolymerisation represents a “greener” technology for the fabrication of polymer materials due to its advantages of high productivity (fast cure), solvent-free formulations and low reaction temperature (ambient condition).4,5 This talk will also introduce the approach we have developed to realise the “greener” technology: a series of iron-based complexes as photoinitiator catalysts to activate the UV/visible LED-induced polymerisation reactions. This approach fits well into the concept of green chemistry, as it realises the activation of polymer synthesis processes by visible light that are abundant in the solar light and allows the marked reduction of photoinitiator amount in the systems.

1. S. J. Park and M. K. Seo, in Polymer Composites, eds. S. Thomas, J. Kuruvilla, S. K. Malhotra, K. Goda and S. M. Sreekala, Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, 2012.
2. M. R. Piggott, Carbon N. Y., 1989, 27, 657–662.
3. Z. Dai, F. Shi, B. Zhang, M. Li and Z. Zhang, Appl. Surf. Sci., 2011, 257, 6980–6985.
4. J. P. Fouassier and J. Lalevée, Photoinitiators for Polymer Synthesis: Scope, Reactivity and Efficiency, Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co KGaA, Weinheim, 2012.
5. N. S. Allen, Photochemistry and Photophysics of Polymer Materials, John Wiley & Sons Inc, New York, 2010.