During the research project, researchers from across our consortium developed a range of new materials.
Fuel Cell Membranes
Polymer electrolyte (PEM) fuel cells use hydrogen gas and air to produce electricity. These can be built in a range of different sizes for various applications, such as, powering electric vehicles (EVs) or providing a back-up power supply to hospitals.
Our researchers at Lancaster University developed self-healing materials which can be used to make the membranes within hydrogen fuel cells. These membranes are very delicate and if they become damaged, it impacts on the efficiency and lifespan of the fuel cell. Manufacturing this membrane from a self-healing material can improve the reliability and lifespan of the product.
Radiation Resistant Glass
Our researchers at Sheffield-Hallam University have developed a low-cost radiation resistant glass and our team from Northumbria University explored coating the glass with a self-healing material to improve scratch resistance. Applications for this glass are in environments where extreme radiation resistance is crucial, such as, medical applications, within the space and nuclear industries, as well as within the energy sector (solar panels) or everyday products (glasses, cameras or mobile phone screens).
Our researchers from Northumbria University developed an intrinsically self-healing polyurethane: the intermolecular bonds can be reattached, a bit like Velcro. The material was developed so that it can be moulded into different components and products, so it could have many applications, particularly in areas where products are inaccessible or costly to repair (such as within the human body or in space).
Our research team at the University of Bristol have developed a self-healing hydrogel using an enzyme called lysyl oxidase (or LOX), which is found within the human body and is responsible for maintaining and repairing our skin. One application for this new hydrogel could be within synthetic skin. Currently being suggested for prosthetics or wound dressing, they are not currently able to self-repair, however the introduction of LOX could enable healing of these devices to occur.