IComp Gets Funding for New Bio-Composites Research Project
The Irish Centre for Composites Research at the University of Limerick has been awarded €240,000 by the European Space Agency for a new space materials research project.
The new 18 month project led by Dr Walter Stanley, Lecturer in Mechanical, Aeronautical, and Biomedical Engineering at UL is called “Demisable Bio-Composite Materials” and got underway last month.
The project will look to create a new bio-composite material for space applications within ESA’s Clean Space Initiative. Developing new, greener technologies is key to the initiative with the focus on making space activities more sustainable. iComp’s bio-composites research will help develop these new greener materials and move toward a life-cycle that is capable of being continued with minimum long-term effect on the environment.
The demisability (the ability of a material to disintegrate during an atmospheric re-entry) of the material is a key element of the research project, carbon fibres when used in spacecrafts could potentially pose a risk upon atmospheric entry. Due to their intractability the fibres have limited demisability and spacecraft structural parts may survive the atmospheric entry, or re-entry and reach the ground with an associated casualty risk. Environmentally compatible alternatives are being investigated and examined.