Using Electrospun Core-shell Nanofibres for the Reinforcement of

Electrospinning PhD Project:
“Using electrospun core-shell nanofibres for the reinforcement of
Dr Stuart Coles and Dr Kerry Kirwan
Project overview: Fibre-reinforced composites are now widely used in today’s society for
applications where a weight saving is desired when compared with manufacturing the part from
conventional steels or other materials. Commonly used reinforcements include glass, carbon and
aramid fibres; all of which pose problems in today’s sustainable society. Both glass and carbon fibre
are energy-intensive processes and aramid fibres require extensive and wasteful chemical
Electrospinning is a low-energy process where polymer solutions are used to generate fibres with
diameters in the range of 100 nm – 5 µm. Electrospun fibres present an opportunity to both improve
the properties of the composites involved and reduce the environmental impact of the
manufacturing process. Given these fibres have a substantially smaller diameter than conventional
fibres; the increased surface-to-volume ratio of the reinforcement phase should improve the
structural properties of the overall composite.
To investigate the potential of using electrospun nanofibres as reinforcements in composite
Develop methods to increase the strength of nanofibre-reinforced composites
Develop novel polymer systems with two or more components to enhance the physical
properties of nanofibre-reinforced composites
Optimise the production of electrospun nanofibres to make the process industrially relevant
The PhD candidate will develop expertise in a range of techniques and methodologies including coreshell electrospun nanofibre production, scanning electron microscopy and macroscopic materials
Applicants should ideally have some experience in composite manufacturing and/or electrospinning.