Thermosets (epoxy, polyurethane, polyester, ...) are characterized by a macromolecular network architecture of high crosslink density and have a glass transition temperature beyond the application temperature. The network formation might be triggered by heat, light, atmospheric plasma. The following aspects are studied: reaction mechanism, cure kinetics and modelling, reaction-induced structure formation, IPNs, waterborne systems, nanostructured coatings, nanocomposites, pultrusion of composites, reversible vs. irreversible networks. Modulated Temperature DSC is an excellent tool to study this category of polymer materials.
The main objective is to achieve a more profound understanding of the OPV blend nanomorphology-performance relationship by means of the physicochemical characteristics of the active components (solubility, molecular weight, polydispersity, aggregation phenomena, crystallization kinetics, kinetics of phase separation). Unravelling this relationship provides a fundamental toolbox to engineer the molecular structure of the materials involved, and the resulting blend nanomorphology. This would lead to a rational design of materials, and contribute to a unifying model that truly links performance to molecular structure and to constitution/composition, considering intermixed or phase-separated ordered/disordered/aggregated (nano)domains.
Self-healing polymers are smart stimuli-responsive materials eabling to restore properties to avoid damage. As an example, self-healing polymers should undergo mechanical healing in response to an applied stimulus. Such healable polymers and composite materials offer the ability to prolong the functional lifetime of their resulting structures and coatings.
The FYSC research team is contributing to the international progress of thermal analysis for materials' characterization, especially in the field of Modulated Temperature DSC (MTDSC), spatially localised thermal analysis (Micro-TA and Nano-TA), (ultra)fast thermal analysis (Rapid-scanning DSC and Chip Calorimetry) and hyphenated thermal techniques (Rheo-DSC). This work involves the development of techniques, the characterization of instruments, their calibration and verification, and their experimental exploration for the study of polymer-based materials. It is supported by finite element modelling of the heat transfer in the instruments.