Advanced Materials

Exeter Advanced Technologies (X-AT) has a strong heritage of working with and developing advanced materials in a variety of areas, including high performance polymers, carbon nanotubes and auxetics. Some case studies of projects we have worked on are outlined below:

High Performance Polymers (HPPs):

  • HPPs are defined as materials having operating temperatures, in air, higher than 150°C. Click here to find out more about this exciting area of research. 

Carbon Nanotubes (CNT):

  • Development of CNT patterning strategies for building multi-layered composite structures - fabrication of multi-layered composite structures with carbon nanotubes as both intra- and inter-layer reinforcement, for ultimate integration into Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) processes
  • UTOPIUM - Aimed to produce fully aligned and dispersed CNT/polymer composites, including the growing of CNT forests and application of Additive layer manufacturing (ALM) principles and technology for manufacturing of the new CNT composites. 

Auxetics - Materials with a negative Poisson's ratio:

  • A Novel Manufacturing Process for the Extrusion of Helical Auxetic Yarns (AUXTRUSION) - An auxetic material is one which exhibits a negative Poisson’s ratio: this is a counter-intuitive physical property whereby the material becomes thicker when stretched. The AUXTRUSION project proposes development of a new extrusion manufacturing technique to produce helical auxetic yarns (HAY). 
  • Auxetic textiles for blast mitigation - an industrial prototyping weaving loom was used to make auxetic fabrics for a research project seeking to create a 'smart' material that could minimise the injuries inflicted by a terrorist attack. The team created blast curtains that could potentially catch glass fragments and debris blown through windows by an explosion. 
  • An improved safety, climbing, parachute harness incorporating auxetic yarns - Sling webbings are in everyday use in the construction industry and in areas where a lifting mechanism is required. Currently, there is no indication when a webbing has been overextended and is therefore no longer fit for purpose. This project evaluated helical auxetic yarns as failure or end-of-life indicators in sling webbings.