Identify the detailed structural (molecular) characteristics of the resin produced during a standard Vitolane fabrication routine (methacrylate functional).
Identify key characteristics which can be followed during the fabrication process.
Identify differences in the structural characteristics between a standard and non-standard fabrication.
Incorporate Vitolane resins into commercial composite blade coatings such as Crystic Gelcoat 252PA to improve anti-icing capabilities.
The Vitolane fabrication route is a two step process. Whilst a robust empirical approach has allowed the development of the fabrication technology this needs detailed analysis to verify the chemical and structural hypotheses underpinning the technology. Specifically, these analyses are required to determine the:
Degree of hydrolysis of the trialkoxysilane parent(s) during stage one.
Distribution of hydrolysis products during this phase.
Degree of condensation of the hydrolyzate and its structural evolution during this phase.
Role of stage two in completing the hydrolysis and its effect on condensation.
The output of this characterisation will be, for the standard fabrication process, an understanding of the reaction rates and structural evolution of the trialkoxysilane as it progresses through to an orgaosilsesquioxane. It is anticipated that analytical techniques such as multinuclear NMR, FTIR and chromatographic methods will be used to follow the structural evolution during the fabrication and to allow determination of the properties of the final resin.
This project will also seek to develop a demonstrator low energy coating for use on composite blades. An industry standard gel coat of Crystic Gelcoat 252PA will be used as the base and adapted by incorporating Vitolane silsequioxane resins. The effect of the level of resin incorporation on the processing and performance parameters of the gel coat will be investigated with key characteristics such as glass transition temperature, cure time, abrasion resistance, solvent resistance and surface energy (hydrophobicity) being measured.
The project will support a PhD student at the Open University who will work with Professor Alan Bassingdale and Dr Peter Taylor who are globally renowned in the structural characterisation of siloxane and silsesquioxane molecular structures.
Relevant Industry Sectors
Power Generation - Renewables, Aerospace
Technical and Economic Benefits
Reduction in production and quality control costs of Vitolane resins.
Assistance for a current TWI innovation (Vitolane).
Assistance in the development of new TWI innovations specific.
Provides characterisation data for Vitolane resins to aid anti-counterfeiting measures.
Reduced downtime for composite blade wind turbines.
Improved efficiency for wind turbines.
Industrial Member Report
Access the Industrial Member Report resulting from this programme: Analysis of Vitolane® Method for the Synthesis of Methacrylate Functionalised Resins