Team MAST has been delivering the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MOD’s) low to medium maturity materials and structures research since November 2007. This article presents case studies from that work - coatings to lower solar heat absorption, self healing of fibre-reinforced polymer composites and integrated damage resistance in composite structures.
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The polymer interphase in adhesively bonded metal joints plays an important role concerning the mechanical behaviour and durability under service conditions. Recent investigations have been able to identify a polymer interphase region adjacent to the metal surface with a thickness of up to 100μm where cross linking density and glass transition temperatures differ significantly from those of the bulk polymer due to the long-range influence of the adhesive interactions in the contact zone to the metal surface.
In a joint research project the mechanical behaviour of the interphase region has been investigated by microextensometry using scanning electron microscopy as an imaging device and computational image analysis.
The four main areas of activity in the field of adhesion and adhesives at the University of Surrey are outlined: structural adhesive bonding; pressure-sensitive adhesive research; the interfacial chemistry of adhesion; and smart adhesive research.
There are many advantages that polymeric adhesives can offer compared to the more traditional methods of joining, but the structure of such thermosetting adhesives also generally results in brittle materials, with a poor resistance to crack initiation and growth. The incorporation of a second phase of dispersed rubbery particles into the epoxy polymer can greatly increase toughness for applications where a very high impact resistance is required for the adhesively-bonded joint.