Bioinspired self-monitoring ceramics

Reference Presenter Authors
03-037 Victoria GARCIA ROCHA GARCIA ROCHA, V.(Cardiff University); Picot, O.T.(Queen Mary University of London); Ferraro, C.(Imperial College London); Ni, N.(Shanghai Jiao Tong University); D'Elia, E.(Imperial College London); Saiz, E.(Imperial College London); Reece, M.(Queen Mary University of London); Peijs, T.(Queen Mary University of London); Chevalier, J.(INSA, Lyon); Saunders, T.(Queen Mary University of London); Highly complex hierarchical structures like those perfectly illustrated by Nature for instance, nacre, bone or wood are key features for improving mechanical performance. They all show properties out performing their basic constituents. New 2D materials such as graphene which shows outstanding electrical properties can be smartly combined to design new multifunctional composites. Following the example of nacre, layered ceramics with weak interfaces have been developed as an easy route to increase toughness. The processing of water based Graphene Oxide suspensions by freeze casting or ice templating is a versatile way to fabricate porous 3D graphene and graphene-based networks. In this work we propose a new approach for producing highly organized layered ceramics through the combination of an ice templated 3D porous graphene structure with a pre-ceramic polymer. Pre-ceramic polymers are easily shaped using conventional polymer forming technologies and can be converted to ceramics through a heat treatment. Graphene allows us the engineering of a highly interconnected microscopic network of thin (< 20 nm) carbon interfaces through the composite. These interfaces promote stable crack and a fracture resistance up to an order of magnitude higher than that of the brittle ceramic matrix that forms ~ 99 vol%. Moreover, it is also highly electrically conductive (> 500 S/m) and can be used to sense the formation and progress of damage. This combination of self-monitoring and high-fracture resistance can help to avoid catastrophic failure in service and suggests a different approach for the integration of graphene in ceramic and polymer-based composites.
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