Laura Simonini, PhD student at the Department of Industrial Engineering, won the Young Scientist Best Poster Award, awarded to the best poster presentation given by a young researcher at the Milan Polymer Days (MIPOL2022), 19th-21th June 2022. She has been awarded for the work Investigation of the interfacial self-healing properties of polycaprolactone coated glass fibers/epoxy microcomposites, by Laura Simonini, Alessandro Pegoretti, Andrea Dorigato and Haroon Mahmood.
Fiber-reinforced composite materials are made by a continuous phase, the matrix, and a reinforcing phase, the fibers. The two phases are separated by the interphase in which chemical-physical interactions are established. It is important to consider that the performance of composite materials depends not only on the mechanical properties of its two main constituents, but it also relies on the physical properties of the interphase. In fact, the failure of the interphase prevents the matrix from transferring the load to the fibers, ultimately causing the composite to fail. So, to ensure the long-term reliability of structural components, it is essential to improve the mechanical stability of the interphase. The work presented is focused on the development of an innovative coating for glass fibers based on polycaprolactone (PCL) that aims to create a self-healing interphase with an epoxy matrix. The mechanism is thermo-activated after the interfacial damage between the matrix and the fibers. Thanks to this coating, the recovery of 50% of the interfacial mechanical properties was obtained.