SEMS' Polymers & Composites Group success at 20th European Conference on Composite Materials in Lausanne, Switzerland
8 July 2022
In the last week of June, the Polymers & Composites Group had a highly successful week presenting at the 20th European Conference on Composite Materials (ECCM20) in the stunningly beautiful city of Lausanne. Seven members made their way to Switzerland and were all eager to share the fantastic work being conducted in the group with the international research community.
Presentations from the group began on Tuesday, with Dr Emiliano Bilotti sharing a story which influenced his research on “Kirigami inspired 3D programmable shape memory nanocomposites”.
Wednesday saw the bulk of talks from the group. Dr Xudan Yao was first to share the details of her project on out-of-oven curing method for advanced composites by way of polymer nanocomposite films exhibiting a double positive temperature coefficient effect. Dr Han Zhang followed Xudan in the same session to deliver a riveting performance of a presentation, inspiring and captivating in equal measure. His talk gave a clear overview of the group’s objectives and the latest results in the pursuit of sustainable multifunctional composites, cementing the research group’s position at the forefront of the field.
In the afternoon, Dr Dimitrios Papageorgiou took to the stage and presented the research work on “Carbon fibre composites with enhanced mechanical properties from MXene addition by electrophoretic deposition”. Dimitrios’ students, Mr Oliver Tomes, was also in attendance at the conference and showcased his PhD project as a poster on the Wednesday afternoon. His work on ultrasoft elastic and electrically conductive nanocomposites for strain sensing application received significant interest from participants.
The final presentations of the week were given by Han’s PhD students, Miss Yushen Wang and Mr Thomas Thorn, both conducting a talk at an academic conference for the very first time. Yushen exhibited her project on “out-of-oven cured natural fibre composites with integrated deformation and degradation sensing”, and we were all proud of how well she did for her first time as a presenter (also in her first year of PhD study). The eager audience had to wait until the very last session of the conference (and after the gala dinner!) to hear from Thomas and his PhD project on multifunctional composites with easy-repairing and integrated damage sensing capabilities. The audience were certainly glad they made the effort to wake up early and Thomas received much praise and endorsement for his work, and arguably more so on his style of presenting.
In addition to all our group members, we would also like to acknowledge the support of an alumnus of the group, Dr Yi Liu - now Lecturer in Polymer Processing at Loughborough University. She was in attendance with her own delegation but had also contributed to several of the talks given by our group during the conference. Her advice and support were invaluable and we wish her many thanks.
Despite the long days and short nights, the group still found the time to enjoy the beautiful old city and bucolic surroundings of Lausanne. Evening strolls to Lac Léman were commonplace, while the final afternoon was spent with a visit to the Cathedral and a hike through the forests high above Lausanne, with astonishing views over to the Alps across the lake.
The conference was considered by all to be a resounding success; the many external parties who expressed their interest in future collaborations is as a result of and a testament to the hard work and commitment of our group members. They should all be extremely proud of themselves and will go forward from here to continue producing work of the highest internationally recognised quality.
Updated by: Han Zhang