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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/T17984/01
Title: 'Bleeding Composites'- Damage Detection And Self-Repair Using A Biomimetic Approach
Principal Investigator: Bond, Professor IP
Other Investigators:
Wisnom, Professor M
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Hexcel Composites Ltd
Department: Aerospace Engineering
Organisation: University of Bristol
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 May 2005 Ends: 30 April 2008 Value (£): 170,915
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Processing
Materials testing & eng.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Transport Systems and Vehicles Aerospace, Defence and Marine
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Low velocity impact damage can cause a substantial reduction in the structural strength of fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composites. If this damage occurs on a macroscopic level it may be easily detected and repaired, but microscopic damage is more insidious and may go unnoticed giving rise to Barely Visible Impact Damage (BVID). One of the key factors limiting current design with composites is the applied load at which BVID will not spread.The concept of self-repair is that a damaged structure is repaired by materials already contained within, analogous to the biological healing process in living organisms. Self repairing composites offer the potential for a substantial improvement in allowable design strain, making the outstanding properties of FRP's more fully exploitable.The aim of this proposal is to fabricate a 'bleeding' FRP. This would effectively act as an 'in-service' repair until a permanent fix could be effected. The proposed approach requires the deployment of specially developed hollow fibre reinforcement. During a damage event some of these fibres will fracture thus initiating two processes. Firstly, the enhanced visualization of the damage site by seepage of a highly conspicuous medium (e.g. ultra-violet fluorescent dye) thus aiding the practical inspection for BVID and identifying areas for permanent repair. Secondly, the recovery of properties by 'healing' whereby a repair agent passes from within any broken hollow fibres to infiltrate the damage zone and acts to ameliorate its effect. This repair process will act to reduce the critical effects of damage and, most importantly, prevent further damage propagation. This will make the material safer, more reliable, longer lasting, require less maintenance and reduce costs.
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Organisation Website: http://www.bris.ac.uk