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Recyclability of industrial epoxy composites under environmentally benign conditions enabled, by the introduction of proteins.

PhD defense, Friday 30 August 2019, Martin Lahn Henriksen.

2019.08.30 | Sunitha Satkunam

Martin Lahn Henriksen

From left to right: virgin carbon fiber fabric, carbon composite, regained carbon fiber and epoxy, and recycled carbon fiber fabrics in a new carbon composite.

Martin L. Henriksen has developed a novel approach to disassemble composite materials into its individual constituents, i.e. carbon/glass fibers and the binding epoxy matrix, for reuse in new applications. Composite materials find its use in many industries – aerospace, automotive, construction, and wind – but it has no reusability in its current state, which leads to deposing of the material via landfill or energy recovery at the end of life.

The understanding of the epoxy matrix on a molecular level has helped to develop strategies to disassemble the composite material, without compromising the thermal or mechanical properties. The strategy developed incorporates the protein “L-cystine” as a green additive in small amounts and has proven to enable dismantling of the composites with acetic acid at slightly elevated temperatures over the course of a few hours.

L-cystine and acetic acid are both common, cheap, and environmentally friendly, the epoxy is commercially used on a large scale, and thus the technological development can potentially help the industries towards a circular economy and a greener production.

The PhD degree was completed at the section for Biological & Chemical Engineering, Department of Engineering, Science and Technology, Aarhus University.

This résumé was prepared by the PhD student.

Time: Friday 30 August 2019 at 13.00
Place:  Edison building 5125-408, Finlandsgade 22, 8200 Aarhus N
Title of PhD thesis: Developing Green Epoxies to Enable Recyclability of Composite Materials
Contact information: Martin Lahn Henriksen, e-mail: lahn@eng.au.dk
Members of the assessment committee:
Professor Gary Leeke, Department of Chemical Engineering, School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham
Professor Kristoffer Almdal, Department of Chemistry, Technical University of Denmark
Professor Sven Gjedde Sommer, Department of Engineering, Aarhus University
Main supervisor:
Assoc. Prof. Mogens Hinge, Department of Engineering, Aarhus University
Language: The PhD dissertation will be defended in English

The defense is public.
The PhD thesis is available for reading at the Graduate School of Science and Technology/GSST, Ny Munkegade 120, building 1521, 8000 Aarhus C.

PhD defence
12183 / i43