Vitrimers, the new polymers that can be repeatedly healed with heat

In a paper posted in the journal Carbon, a research team describes a new type of carbon fiber reinforced material

In a paper posted in the journal Carbon, a research team that includes UW mechanical engineering Assistant Professor Aniruddh Vashisth describes a new type of carbon fiber reinforced material that is as strong and light as traditionally used ones, but can be repeatedly healed with heat, reversing any fatigue damage and providing a way to break it down and recycle it when it reaches the end of its life.

“Developing fatigue-resistant composites is a major need in the manufacturing community,” says Vashisth. “In this paper, we demonstrate a material where either traditional heat sources or radio frequency heating can be used to reverse and postpone its aging process indefinitely.”

The material is part of a recently developed group known as carbon fiber reinforced vitrimers (vCFRP). The materials typically used today, whether in sporting goods or aerospace, are carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP).

In the photo: Assistant Professor Aniruddh Vashisth holds a sample of a healable carbon fiber composite material that his team is studying. Ph. by Andy Freeberg / University of Washington.

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