Autonomous repair

Research funded by the EPSRC UK Catalysis Hub in the Wass research group at the University of Bristol has been developing catalyst systems to embed in carbon fibre composite materials to impart self-healing functionality.  This work has received wide media coverage (see www.epsrc.ac.uk/newsevents/news/selfhealingaircraftwings) and this attention has enabled engagement with industry across a range of sectors to develop real usable technology.  Although at a nascent stage of technology translation, materials have been exchanged with C6n, a supplier of composite events pavilions (interaction initiated via giving a presentation at a KTN networking event for the constructions industry); Dassi, a manufacturer of high performance road bikes; Acconia, who have wide interests n the use of composites for infrastructure projects; IHI, who have interest in the automotive supply chain; and GKN, a manufacturer of aerospace components.  In due course, we intend to develop more substantial collaborative projects with these companies, enabled by the University of Bristol’s involvement with the Knowledge Centre for Materials Chemistry, and more information regarding market size and penetration can be supplied at that point.

Furthermore, this project has been widely disseminated for outreach activities, providing an inspirational and unusual example of catalysis in action. Wass has presented this science to over one hundred and fifty secondary teachers via the Prince’s Teaching Institute, over five hundred secondary school children via various lecture tours, over two hundred senior industrials via a TTI Vanguard conference on ‘Autonomy’ in Brooklyn, N.Y. and more widely in the pan-European ‘Science in Schools’ journal.

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